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The True Dangers of Talcum Powder and Other Talc Products

For the most part, when we buy products–especially health and cosmetic-related products–we debate factors like quality, price, and quantity. Safety and potential harm is not usually a consideration, nor should it be. While there are substantial processes and agencies in place that seek to mitigate harmful goods, some inevitably slip through the cracks. Unfortunately, talcum powder and other talc-based products are a huge example of this. 

For years now, scientists and medical researchers have been compiling more and more evidence regarding the link between talcum powder and deadly illnesses such as ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. Anyone who has used talc products in the past and has since been diagnosed with cancer or other deadly illnesses is encouraged to come forward at this time. At Van Law Firm, our personal injury and product liability attorneys are actively vetting new talc cases, so that we may do our part in holding manufacturers accountable for the damages their products have caused. 

What is Talc and What is it Used For? 

Talc is a mineral composed of silicon, magnesium, and oxygen. It is naturally occurring, and companies both in the U.S. and around the world mine it from rock deposits. It is then dried, crushed, and milled into a fine powder, which is what most consumers are familiar with. This powder has numerous properties that manufacturers consider to be desirable–it can add a softness and a shine to some products, and it also acts as a lubricant for others. 

Ever since businesses discovered the potential value of this mineral many years ago, it’s been added to a wide variety of goods, from cosmetics to paint, paper, and rubber. Above all, perhaps the most recognizable talc product is talcum powder itself, also known as baby powder; Johnson & Johnson first released its famous baby powder all the way back in 1893(!), and it’s been widely circulated since. Consumers love its ability to prevent rash, but unfortunately, rashes pale in comparison to the harm that talc can cause itself. 

Why is Talc and Talcum Powder Dangerous? 

The reason why talc products are considered dangerous has more to do with where the mineral is found rather than the mineral itself. When talc is mined from the earth, it is almost always found inside or alongside deposits of asbestos, which is one of the most potent carcinogens we’ve discovered to date. When the talc is mined and refined, it is likely that some amount of asbestos will be found in it even after manufacturing processes. Even a trace amount of asbestos is enough to cause cancer, as evidenced by the innumerable victims left in its wake over the years. 

Although the government came crashing down on everything asbestos-related in the 1970s, researchers have noted that talc and asbestos are especially difficult to fully separate on a consistent basis, and so trace amounts regularly seep through. In fact, according to a report from Reuters, samples of Johnson & Johnson’s famed powder tested positive for asbestos from 1971 all the way up to the early 2000s. 

The Connection Between Talc and Serious Medical Conditions 

Ovarian Cancer

The vast majority of talcum powder users are women, and the chief use is to help with discomfort in the genital area (rash, odor, moisture, etc.). Over time, repeated application of these powders to the genital area will cause particles to enter the body and eventually travel to the ovaries, where they can become lodged into ovarian tissue. Your body will attempt to purge them out, but over time they will cause severe inflammation, eventually leading to the development of a cancerous tumor. The National Center for Health Research has said that the use of talcum powder will increase a woman’s risk of cancer by 30 percent or more. 


The other way for powder particles to enter your body is through your airways, and when they do, they attach themselves to your lung tissue and begin to form tumors, just like in the ovaries. Mesothelioma is an extremely rare type of lung cancer that is almost exclusively caused by asbestos. This would make sense, as asbestos has been found in talc products for decades. 

J&J Powder Recalls, Removals 

After being hit with thousands upon thousands of injury lawsuits, Johnson & Johnson voluntarily recalled some lots of their powders in late 2019, only to turn around and yank all of their talc-based products off of retail shelves on May 19th, 2020. However, these actions are too little too late when it comes to the company’s injury liability. Litigation is ongoing, and new cases are added continuously. Any potential claimants may be able to recover compensation for medical costs, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and even funeral and burial expenses if a victim has died.  

Connect With the Nation’s Best Product Liability Attorneys 

Have you or someone you know been diagnosed with ovarian cancer or mesothelioma after prolonged use of talcum powder or other talc-based products? If so, contact the experienced staff of personal injury and product liability attorneys at Van Law Firm today to discuss your case and any potential course of action. We have decades of personal injury and mass tort experience, and if you call, we’d love to share some of that knowledge with you. Contact our office nearest to you to learn more.