Asbestos exposure in Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products can lead to ovarian cancer, thus worrying the population using this type of product. There is an enormous number of civil lawsuits against the company due to its negligence, lack of liability and poor preventive action concerning the risks it brings to the health of its consumers and the violation of commercial codes.
Talcum Powder and Health Risks
The journal Ovarian cancer, Cancer Prevention Research, "Cancer Prevention Research," released a study arguing that women who used talcum powder for intimate hygiene were at a 20 to 30 percent increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.
This increased risk of ovarian cancer is the basis for several lawsuits that have been filed against Johnson & Johnson. Johnson & Johnson was recently ordered to pay $72 million for a talc-related lawsuit.
The carcinogenic effects of asbestos are well studied. In 1973, the U.S. passed a law requiring all household talcum powder to be asbestos-free.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies the use of talcum powder for intimate cleansing as a "possible human carcinogen.
A real expert on the subject of asbestos, Francisco Báez, perhaps the person who knows the most about it in Spain (and part of the foreigner) and author of the book Asbestos: An Impune Genocide, tells me that the most reliable evidence corresponds to talc from the Vanderbilt mine.
The type of asbestos that naturally pollutes talc and steatite (the "soap" that tailors use to mark and of which the statue of the 'Christ of the Sugar Loaf' is made, in Brazil), is called tremolite.
Talcum Powder Lawsuits
In recent years, Johnson & Johnson has faced lawsuits for damages caused by its hip replacement parts, vaginal mesh, and prescription drugs.
In the current lawsuits brought by Johnson & Johnson baby powder, there are claims that the company should have taken steps to prevent clients from being exposed to the risk of ovarian cancer.
Since the first study linking talc to cancer, it has been argued that they had enough time to inform consumers about the danger.
Talcum powder has been the subject of lawsuits for years by private individuals who claim that the favorite cosmetic product had caused cancer. The first of these lawsuits was filed by an American named Darlene Coker in 1997. Coker contended that the company's continued use of talcum powder had caused mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer.
According to Reuters, the company refused to provide internal documents about the amount of asbestos in its talc mining operations and products because those analyses would have revealed that Coker was right. The woman resigned in 1999 and died ten years later.
This is not the only case. Since then, there have been more than 11,000 known cases in which the plaintiffs have blamed talcum powder for causing various health problems such as lung cancer or cervical cancer. Most of these lawsuits were unsuccessful, but some were able to prove their case and resulted in multi-million dollar penalties for the company.
If there are indications that talcum powder may contain traces of carcinogens, why have they not been banned? The U.S. FDA, health agencies in other countries and Johnson & Johnson itself claim that there is no scientifically proven link between talcum powder and some types of cancer. The World Health Organization, however, lists asbestos as a carcinogen and explicitly mentions the presence of the material in the talcum.