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Residents of West Virginia may have heard about the links between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. These cases have been successfully litigated since at least 2016. Research shows that mainstream brands like Johnson & Johnson and Shower to Shower were aware of the asbestos present in their talc. When used regularly, this product reportedly caused cancer for several women.

Giving a false sense of security

Although Johnson & Johnson had internal documents showing that the company knew about this link, it continued to promote the products as safe enough for everyone, including babies. People have used talcum powder like Johnson & Johnson’s to prevent diaper rash for over 120 years.

Talc is the softest mineral yet discovered. It’s mined like a rock, but its soft texture and ability to absorb moisture makes it useful for personal care and cosmetic products. However, even as this product is promoted for babies and feminine hygiene, there are two clear problems with talc.

The dangers of talc

The first problem with talc is the dust it produces. This can be especially harmful to babies if they inhale it. Inhaling enough powder can cause difficulty breathing, chest pain and wheezing. Rarely, a baby who swallows excessive amounts of talc can even be diagnosed with talcum poisoning.

Although manufacturers like Johnson & Johnson have downplayed this risk, they did at least provide a printed warning about the dust on the products. When it comes to the cancer risk associated with baby powder, however, Johnson & Johnson has been reluctant to add a new warning label. Since 2016, the company has been liable in several cases that linked its powders to ovarian cancer, leading to some of the most significant mass tort lawsuits in recent years. Individuals who suspect that their medical condition resulted from the manufacturer’s products may want to consult an attorney about the next steps.