People have used talc powder for hundreds of years in nearly endless ways. While it's well known as a treatment for diaper rash in infants, it's also a popular ingredient in many personal hygiene products, cosmetics, and other goods that consumers consider harmless. But recent studies reveal that talc can cause harm as it builds up in the body over time, leading to product lawsuits and consumer deaths.
Why Is Talcum Powder Dangerous?
Talcum powder is derived from a mineral called magnesium silicate, commonly known as talc. After being ground into a power, talc is often used topically because it has a pleasant soft and silky feeling on the skin. The mineral is used as an ingredient in thousands of products to absorb moisture, reduce friction, act as a deodorant, and cool irritated skin. Its ability to be used in powder form, in a lotion, or even atomized in spray products makes it even easier for people to use talc on a daily basis and apply large amounts at each application.
However, researchers have linked repeated use of talc to serious side effects, including:
- Respiratory problems. Talc is easily inhaled in powder form, and can cause irritation to the lungs and respiratory tract. People may suffer wheezing, coughing, shallow breathing, and other symptoms of chronic lung irritation known as talcosis. This can affect consumers of all ages, but is particularly dangerous to children and infants.
- Asthma. Long-term exposure to talc powder may lead to the development of asthma, making it more likely for affected consumers to suffer a sudden inability to breathe. Workers who mine or mill talc are at higher risk of chronic respiratory diseases and may be more likely to develop lung infections, such as pneumonia.
- Cancer. Inhaling talc powder is linked to lung cancer, and repeated use of feminine hygiene products containing talc has recently been found to increase the likelihood of ovarian cancer.
Lawsuits Arise as Women Using Talc Develop Ovarian Cancer
Women are often at higher risk of side effects from talc since the mineral is included in a number of products marketed toward women. Deodorants, body powders, cosmetics, and feminine hygiene products containing talc are commonly touted as fast-drying and highly-absorbent, making them attractive to female consumers. Many talc products have been developed to prevent of vaginal odor in women, with companies encouraging women to use talc in their undergarments, on sanitary products, or apply it directly to areas that may sweat or release odor.
The dangers of using talc near a women’s reproductive system emerged decades ago, with doctors first raising concerns in the 1970s. Early studies showed a link between talc powder used near female genitalia and the development of cancer, particularly ovarian cancer. Research demonstrated that talc particles could travel from the vagina to the uterus and into the ovaries, where it could accumulate and dissolve over time.
Many studies over the years affirm the dangers for women using talcum powder. A study published in 2013 in Cancer Prevention Research showed the link between talc and ovarian cancer to be significant, particularly in patients who had been using talc for personal hygiene for most of their lives.
This evidence has led women and their families to sue the manufacturers of popular hygiene products, including pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson. Injury victims claim that Johnson & Johnson has encouraged women to use items from its popular Baby Powder brand as personal deodorants, placing them at risk of cancer development. Some plaintiffs have alleged that other manufacturers of talc products have been aware of ovarian cancer risk for years, but never adequately warned consumers of the danger.
Let Us Help You
If you or someone you love was injured as a result of using talcum powder, we can help. The McGartland Law Firm serves clients nationwide who were injured by dangerous drugs and consumer products, and we don't collect any legal fees unless we win your case. Contact us today to speak to an attorney about your claim.