Does talc baby powder cause cancer? At least 15,000 people believe the answer is yes and have made claims against Johnson & Johnson, the well-known manufacturer of a few popular talc-containing baby and bath powders.
They claim that J&J has known for many years that its talc products may be contaminated with asbestos and increase the risk of ovarian cancer but failed to provide adequate warning to consumers.
Yet so far, juries and scientists have had differing opinions. Although in 2019 alone, three separate juries have ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $29 million, $325 million, and respectively $4.8 million to three women and their families who claim the product caused them to develop cancer, in March 2019, a New Jersey jury ruled that the company's baby powder didn't cause the consumer's mesothelioma.
According to government surveillance data, an estimated 22,240 women in the U.S. were diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2018, and 14,070 died the same year.
Wayne State University researcher Ghassan Saed, Ph.D., was intrigued by that question. Millions of women who regularly use talc on their genital region think that the powder is inert and harmless. So did Saed, a professor at the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit.
Yet in findings presented at the 2019 Society of Gynecologic Oncology Annual Meeting, his team revealed an association between talc and inflammation in normal and ovarian cancer cells.
In particular, the researchers uncovered the mechanism of action by determining how talc-induced mutations in certain genes (including CAT, NOS, and GPX1) linked to ovarian cancer.
At the meeting, researchers also showed that talc elevated the oxidation state in ovarian cancer cell lines. The surprising part came when they found that healthy Fallopian cells, which is where ovarian cancer is believed to originate, reacted in a similar pattern.
If these findings, which have been published only as an open-access peer-reviewed chapter, are confirmed, it establishes strong causal evidence that talcum powder causes ovarian cancer in some cases. If courts finally decide that the findings are reliable and can be presented as evidence they could have an important impact on the current claims.
Have you developed ovarian cancer after using talcum powder regularly for personal hygiene and want to know whether you are eligible to file a talcum powder claim? Atraxia Law can help.
Our professional team of experts will treat you with the highest level of care and compassion, examine your case, and let you know if you qualify for a claim. Reach out to us as soon as possible.