Can Using Talcum and Baby Powder Really Cause Cancer?

You may have seen the recent headlines about Johnson & Johnson being sued over claims that its baby powder and talcum-based products cause cancer, even getting hit with a $72 million judgment in one case. These lawsuits claim that the use of talcum powder for feminine hygiene increases the risk of ovarian cancer, and that Johnson & Johnson knew of the risk yet failed to warn consumers.

So can you get cancer from using baby powder or talcum powder? And if so, what can you do about it?

What You Need to Know

Women have been using talcum powder and baby powder as a health and beauty product for over a hundred years. But most people weren’t aware of any health risks until a 1970s study found talc particles embedded in ovarian tumors. A direct link between talcum powder use and ovarian cancer hasn’t been established yet, but the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies the genital use of talc-based body powder as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”

But Johnson & Johnson may have known their baby powder products were unsafe as early as the ’90s. One lawsuit claims the Cancer Prevention Coalition notified Johnson & Johnson’s CEO about studies showing that female talcum powder use in the genital area posed “a serious risk of ovarian cancer” in 1994. And the AP disclosed a 1997 internal memo from a Johnson & Johnson medical consultant saying “anybody who denies” the risk of using hygienic talc and ovarian cancer is “denying the obvious in the face of all evidence to the contrary.”

What to Do If You’ve Been Injured

Companies like Johnson & Johnson can be held liable for making dangerous products or failing to warn customers regarding known risks of their products. Product liability laws are designed to protect consumers, based on the premise that companies generally have a duty to design safe consumer products and adequately warn consumers about potentially unsafe products.

There are currently over 1,400 talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson. If you have used baby powder or talcum powder for feminine hygiene and have been diagnosed with cancer, there are legal options. While a cancer diagnosis can be terrifying, a product liability attorney with experience handling talcum powder lawsuits can protect your rights and may help to secure compensation for your medical bills.

Where to Find Legal Help

The sooner you contact an attorney the better — many injury claims have statutes of limitation, meaning if you wait too long to file a claim, you may not be able to. Most experienced personal injury attorneys are willing and happy to talk to you about your case for free, and may represent you on a contingency fee basis.

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