Talcum powder is not a carcinogen in its pure form. However, talcum powder often contains traces of a carcinogen known as asbestos, which can increase the risk of a consumer developing certain types of cancer.
Connection Between Talcum Powder and Cancer
Talc is a soft mineral found in the Earth, that manufacturers grind up into a fine powder to make talcum powder. Talcum powder is useful in a myriad of products that tout moisture absorption and anti-chafing properties. From baby powder to feminine hygiene products, talcum powder users found success wicking away moisture from their bodies when using these products.
Unfortunately, talc mines remain located deep within the Earth dangerously close to asbestos mines. Asbestos is a mineral that is a known carcinogen, and the microscopic, sharp, dagger-like fibers of asbestos actually embed themselves in talc. This discovery occurred nearly half a century ago in the 1970s. Therefore, when tested, talcum powder often contains traces of asbestos fibers. This is why while talcum powder is a carcinogen by itself, it is now considered dangerous and related to a carcinogen.
How Talcum Powder Increases the Risk of Cancer
A study in Seminars in Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine explains how the microscopic asbestos fibers often found in talc easily settle into the lining of the lungs, the lining of the abdomen (peritoneal area), or in areas such as the ovaries or the testicles.
Cancer does not appear automatically, but rather the asbestos particles inflame, scar, and kill surrounding cells. While in most cases in the body when a cell dies, it never grows again, in the case of cells killed by asbestos, a process called “programmed cell necrosis” occurs. When this process occurs, cells remain dormant for a period of time.
After this, according to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), these cells then start an inflammatory chain reaction that then grows cancerous cells. While these cells may remain dormant for a long period of time, if they do begin to grow, it will likely result in the rapid progression of cancerous cells in the area, and perhaps throughout the person’s body.
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Talcum Powder Lawsuits Due to Dangers
Although Johnson & Johnson continue to argue that their talcum powder products remain safe for public consumption, victims throughout the country continue to file lawsuits. Additionally, victims are consistently winning their lawsuits against talcum manufacturers.
The New York Times reports that in one singular case, $4.7 billion dollars in damages to 22 victims occurred in St. Louis, Missouri. While Johnson & Johnson may continue to hold the position that their products are safe, scientists, researchers, victims, and juries all seem to disagree, holding the company responsible for the development of life-threatening medical conditions and deaths of those who used their talcum powder products.
Johnson & Johnson Knew of the Dangers of Talcum Powder
While Johnson & Johnson continue to loudly and vehemently claim that their products containing talc remain safe and are not in any way linked to a carcinogen, their own internal documents show that they knew that asbestos contaminated their baby powder, according to the Reuters.
These documents, created in the 1970s, prove that talcum powder manufacturers knew that their products were dangerous and could result in the increased risk of developing cancer in their customers.
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Talcum Powder Recall Due to Dangers
Johnson & Johnson still continue to hold the position that their talcum powder products remain safe, even after thousands of lawsuits were filed against them by victims, and juries sided with victims by awarding large judgments against them.
On October 18, 2019, Johnson & Johnson officially announced the recall of only one particular lot of baby powder as it tested positive for asbestos. The recall was a result of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) test that revealed the presence of sub-trace levels of asbestos contamination.
Still unwilling to say that their products are dangerous, the company stated that perhaps the asbestos contamination occurred from the cross-contamination from another product, or from a product without a proper seal, or from a counterfeit sample. Despite all of the evidence to the contrary, Johnson & Johnson still maintain the safety of their talcum powder products.
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Learn How We Can Help You Today
If you suffered any injuries or losses related to your use of talcum powder, or talc-containing products, it might be due to the fact that talc often contains asbestos, which is a known carcinogen. Learn how our lawyers can help you by contacting Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 217-6099 to speak with our team for a free consultation regarding your case.