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Does Baby Powder Cause Cancer?

Baby powder, or talcum powder, is a seemingly harmless cosmetic powder. However, some people allege that it is dangerous. Plaintiffs base their claims on asbestos fibers in talc, which threaten an increased risk of ovarian cancer. The possible link between baby powder and cancer has become a public health concern.

According to the British Journal of Medicine (BMJ), over 40,000 consumers have filed talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson, the product's primary manufacturer. Plaintiffs alleged that the powder causes ovarian cancer. They also claim that J&J failed to warn consumers of the known risks.

This article overviews issues around Johnson & Johnson talcum powder and cancer, including the possible link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. It also discusses what to do if you or your loved one become sick after using baby powder.

The Link Between Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer

Talcum powder contains magnesium silicate (talc). Consumers have used talcum powder since 1894, when Johnson & Johnson introduced it to consumers. Talc is in other products, such as:

  • Cosmetic products
  • Personal care products
  • Body powder

Concerns about Johnson & Johnson's baby powder began in the early 1970s. British researchers identified ovarian tumors with embedded talc particles. Since then, an increasing number of studies have found possible links between talc and ovarian cancer.

To be clear, medical research on whether talcum powder poses a higher risk of ovarian cancer is inconclusive. That's why so many of the lawsuits remain unsettled. Studies of personal use of talcum powder have had mixed results. However, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC, part of the World Health Organization) has classified the genital use of talc as a "possible carcinogen." It also warns of the risks of ovarian cancer.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received complaints of talcum powder causing cancer since the 1970s. Many of these concerns are about those who use talcum powder in the genital area. While the FDA has stated there may be causal links between talc products and ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, and even lung cancer, the agency has not drawn any conclusions about talc exposure's safety.

For more information on the FDA's 2022 research on the dangers of baby powder, visit their site.

What You Should Know About Talcum Powder

There are several essential things to know about the use of talcum powder. The list below highlights the risks of baby powder and talcum powder.

  • The American Cancer Society (ACS) maintains that the link between talc and ovarian cancer is inconclusive.
  • The specific concern regarding talc is how it gets into a woman's ovaries. The suggestion is that talc in baby powder can travel through the fallopian tubes. It then enters the woman's reproductive tract and embeds itself into a woman's ovaries.
  • Johnson & Johnson denies the allegations that talcum powder is carcinogenic, claiming there isn't enough statistical data to prove a link to cancer.
  • Johnson & Johnson is not required to include a warning label for ovarian cancer on baby powder products.

In 2023, J&J was working to settle all claims without agreeing that their product was dangerous. However, they are also fighting against researchers suggesting a mesothelioma link. The company argues that these study subjects came into contact with asbestos in other ways.

Is Johnson & Johnson's Baby Powder Still on the Shelves?

Johnson & Johnson removed its talc-based baby powder from American and Canadian shelves in 2020. However, this is not an admission of liability. Nor has J&J admitted that there are health risks associated with its talcum powder product. They said it would release a new powder made using cornstarch instead. There are no reports that cornstarch-based powder causes cancer or other related illnesses.

Seeking Medical Attention

If you are concerned about talcum powder, stop using it until more information becomes available. If you or a loved one are experiencing reproductive health problems or cancer due to talcum powder, get proper medical attention immediately. A doctor can provide appropriate medical advice on what to do next.

Get Peace of Mind: Let an Attorney Help With Your Baby Powder Claim

Receiving a positive diagnosis of ovarian cancer, or any cancer, is devastating. If you've used Johnson & Johnson brand talcum powder and think it caused your illness, you may have a claim for damages.

Get the help you need today by contacting a product liability attorney experienced with these kinds of claims.

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