Talcum Powder Lawsuits Against Johnson & Johnson Reach 6,600
According to the latest quarterly filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Johnson & Johnson has approximately 6,600 talcum powder lawsuits pending across the country, with the company’s popular Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower products at the center of each.
The plaintiffs in the cases are suing the pharmaceutical and consumer goods giant claiming that talcum particles in two of its longest standing products caused their ovarian cancer. The claimants are seeking monetary damages for their injuries and they are also asking that Johnson & Johnson add warning labels or replace the products entirely with a similar one formulated with the much safer cornstarch. According to the American Cancer Society, there is no evidence linking cornstarch to ovarian cancer. This is not the case with talc.
The American Cancer Society also points out that talc, in its natural form, may contain asbestos. Asbestos is the only cause of a devastating cancer known as mesothelioma. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer also had its say on the matter, concluding in 2010 that, “perineal use of talc-based body powder is possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
The FDA has also reported that, “literature dating back to the 1960s has suggested a possible association between talc powders and ovarian cancer,” says the New York Times. In one 2013 study, nearly 20,000 people were analyzed. The study found that “those who used any type of powder down there were 20% to 30% more likely to have ovarian cancer than those who didn’t use any powder.” The findings led the researchers to suggest that, “avoidance of genital powders may be a possible strategy to reduce ovarian cancer incidence.”
While Johnson & Johnson continues to stand behind its talc products, the lawsuits continue to mount, with no end in sight for the company.
“The plaintiffs are not working as a team,” says the NYT. “They are taking the company to court one at a time.”
If you have concerns about the safety of talc, the American Cancer Society says until more information is available, you should avoid or limit your use of consumer products that contain it.
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