The global leader of consumer personal hygiene products Johnson & Johnson has just suffered one more very costly lawsuit in federal court. In May 2016, for the second time in less than three months, a St. Louis jury awarded a South Dakota woman $55 million after agreeing with the plaintiff that Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder and other talcum-based personal hygiene products directly caused her ovarian cancer. While the connection between cancer and talcum powder might be an unexpected surprise to many consumers, it could be that manufacturers have known of the product’s hidden risks for decades.
A quick dusting of talcum powder is a common use for many of Johnson & Johnson’s talcum base products including Shower to Shower, Baby Powder and others. Many consumers use the products to reduce diaper irritation and rashes in infants and as a quick moisture absorbing solution around adult genital areas. However, these uses might be dangerous.
Recent findings reported by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the American Cancer Society are noting a connection between inhaling significant amounts of the talc powder to chronic and acute lung irritation, naming the condition “talcosis.” Many wise consumers have begun using cornstarch powder as a reliable, safe alternative to avoid direct contact with potentially harmful elements that make up the natural occurring talc mineral including magnesium, silicon and oxygen.