For decades, companies like Johnson & Johnson have marketed talcum powders as baby powder. Intended for use on diaper-wrapped bottoms and even suggested for feminine hygiene purposes, these powders have recently come under major scrutiny.
The reason for the current negativity toward talcum powder is actually quite frightening. Tests performed on this much-used and once-beloved product indicate that asbestos contaminates some talcum powder. This has lead to lawsuits by those who have developed serious cancers. Worse, some of these lawsuits allege manufacturers may have known about the presence of asbestos in a product marketed for use on infants and around bodily orifices.
For decades, the correlation between asbestos and cancers, like mesothelioma, have been well known by the public. However, that hasn't stopped companies from mining and using these minerals for a variety of purposes. Workers in a variety of fields experience increased risk for cancer due to prolonged exposure. Now, it looks like there's a possibility that those who use talcum-based baby powders for hygiene reasons could also be at risk for cancer.
In addition to mesothelioma, which is a deadly cancer of the lining around organs, asbestos has been linked to:
- Lung cancer
- Throat cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Gastrointestinal cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Cancer of the larynx and abdominal organs
Thousands of cases allege that the lifelong use of talcum powder near or on genitals leads to ovarian cancer as well.
Companies did not warn consumers of potential asbestos contamination
One of the big issues in the most recent lawsuit, slowly working through the New Jersey courts, is that Johnson & Johnson was aware of the potential asbestos contamination. However, they took no steps to warn users about this potential carcinogen. That may have put millions of women at risk of serious, hard-to-detect ovarian cancer.
Johnson & Johnson, as a massive corporation with deep pockets, denies these allegations. They claim that tests for asbestos frequently produce false positives and that there could be alternative explanations for the cancers in their long-term customers. Juries have decided both in favor of those suing the corporate giant and in favor of Johnson & Johnson in different cases.
Asbestos-related cancers are a serious concern
Mesothelioma is closely linked to asbestos exposure, and many mass torts have been filed on behalf of workers who developed this form of cancer. Currently, there are no other known causes of this aggressive and deadly cancer. Sadly, because it takes many years, even decades, to develop, determining the source of exposure is sometimes difficult.
Those who have developed mesothelioma or other cancers potentially related to asbestos exposure have many options for compensation, including victims' funds and personal injury lawsuits against product manufacturers and employers who exposed people to asbestos through their products or work requirements.