Talcum Powder




Personal Hygiene

Side Effects

Talcum powder has been associated with ovarian cancer and potential contamination complications

Talcum is a naturally occurring, fine white substance. It’s a combination of minerals, such as magnesium, silicon, oxygen, and hydrogen. As a powder, talcum is primarily used as a drying agent. It can be found in a number of everyday items, like body and shower products, feminine hygiene formulas and women’s cosmetics. Johnson’s Baby Powder is among the most widely used talcum powder product on the market. 

Johnson’s Baby Powder is dusted on the genitals of women and babies to absorb moisture, treat diaper rash, mask vaginal odor and reduce chafing in sensitive areas. The manufacturer recommends sprinkling it on babies after “every bath and diaper change,” and on your own body “anytime you want skin to feel soft, fresh, and comfortable.” 

Johnson & Johnson (J&J)™ worked to build talcum’s reputation as a safe and effective hygiene method for decades. Family-friendly ads, sometimes specifically targeted to women of color, presented the product as “the kindest powder in the world,” perfect for mom, dad and of course, baby. But the truth isn’t so kind. 

Johnson’s Baby Powder is a major commodity for the sixth-largest consumer health company in the world. More than 40 years ago, scientific studies linked talcum, its main ingredient, to ovarian cancer. Until recently, the data has remained buried under the Baby Powder fortune. And because of that, many long-term users will learn of the risks only after receiving a life-changing talcum powder cancer diagnosis.

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Side effects

Talcum powder has been linked with complications related to contamination with asbestos. These contaminants have led to ovarian cancer, vaginal cancer, and numerous health issues.

Legal actions

Thousands of plaintiffs have filed complaints for the misconduct of Johnson & Johnson. Despite denying for decades that their product has ever been contaminated and dismissing claims of harm as junk science, in April 2020, Judge Freda L Wolfson concluded a 9-month scientific examination of the evidence known as a Daubert Hearing. This hearing found that the findings of plaintiff experts were scientifically valid.

On Jun 23, 2020, Johnson & Johnson was sentenced with a $2.1 billion verdict by a jury and despite appealing the verdict to the Missouri supreme court they failed to overturn the verdict. This case is now being petitioned before the supreme court.

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