Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is being sued by over 1,000 women who are claiming the company has failed to provide information about the risks of ovarian cancer and the link to talcum powder products. The largest talc supplier in the country, Imerys Talc America, is also involved in many of the lawsuits, reports BioSpace.com.
Many women have used J&J talc-based products on a daily basis for decades as part of their feminine hygiene regimen. Studies have raised issues with the development of ovarian cancer and its connection to talcum powder. In February 2016, a jury awarded $72 million to the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer and blamed J&J’s talc product for her illness. The company insisted the product was safe, but the jury decided that J&J was aware of the risk of talc when used in the genital area and did not disclose that knowledge to the public, BioSpace.com reports.
Talcum powder is used in many cosmetic products, such as baby powder and adult body and facial powders. Made from talc, a mineral that consists of the elements magnesium, silicon, and oxygen, the powder is used to absorb moisture and prevent odor, and is often used in the area of the genitals. Asbestos is in some talc products, a substance that has been linked to cancers in and around the lungs when inhaled, according to the American Cancer Society.
J&J’s talc-based products are classified as cosmetics, and are therefore, not in the category to undergo a review or approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), reports BioSpace.com.
Bloomberg noted that in 1971, British researchers examined 13 ovarian tumors and found talc residue was “deeply imbedded” in 10 of them. This was the first study that suggested a link between talc and ovarian cancer.