New Jersey Jury Decides Talcum Powder did not Cause Woman’s Mesothelioma
Consumer products and devices are intended to help us live better lives. They serve of a variety of purposes, meet our needs, and in some cases, even make us sick. Unfortunately, everyday items that you can find in your local grocery store or pharmacy can cause serious harm if they are improperly made, contaminated, or if manufacturers fail to warn about their risks. There has been an ongoing legal battle across the United States regarding one such product: talcum powder, which may or may not be linked with mesothelioma, a dangerous form of lung cancer.
A New Jersey woman filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturers of the talcum powder she used, alleging that the product caused her mesothelioma. Recently, a jury in Middlesex County decided in favor of the manufacturer. This case represents the eighth of its kind, with plaintiffs across the country alleging that Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products caused their mesothelioma. So what is talcum powder and does it cause cancer? Let’s take a look at the information available.
How do I know if I use Talcum Powder?
Talcum powder is a common consumer product made from talc, which is a mineral composed primarily of magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. You have likely seen and may have even used talcum powder on yourself or your family, as it is often used in baby powder and other cosmetic powder products for the face and body. Talcum powder has its advantages, as it prevents chaffing and absorbs moisture. Thousands of people use baby powder, manufactured by Johnson & Johnson and other companies, for diaper changing and personal care.
Does Talcum Powder lead to Cancer?
The link between talcum powder and cancer involves asbestos, a substance recognized for causing lung cancer when inhaled. When occurring in nature, some talc contains asbestos. It has already been established that talcum products containing asbestos may cause cancer. As such, regulations adopted in the United States in the 1970s prohibit companies from manufacturing talcum products that contain any asbestos. However, there is not a concrete answer about the potential link between asbestos-free talcum products and cancer. Many studies have attempted to address this question, with sometimes conflicting results.
One of the leading questions about talcum powder is if it causes ovarian cancer in women who use it regularly in the genital region. Some studies have shown a slightly increased risk, while others have shown no risk. Of course, each study has its own potential biases and using human subjects always opens the door for subjective assessment.
As for talcum powder and lung cancer, some studies have found a slightly increased risk of lung cancer in talc miners and those exposed to talc through their jobs on a regular basis. It is important to remember that talc in nature may contain asbestos, which may be responsible for the development of lung cancer in these cases. Studies involving consumer products have not shown that talcum powder products cause lung cancer.
Can Talcum Powder be Contaminated?
Even if a product is supposed to be free of contaminants and potentially dangerous substances, it can become contaminated during the manufacturing process or at another time before reaching the consumer. Companies also source their materials from various locations, meaning one production batch could contain hazardous substances while the majority do not.
This is important to the discussion of talcum powder, as the plaintiffs in these cases allege different things when dealing with different forms of cancer. There are currently almost 5,000 active cases against Johnson & Johnson in the U.S. alleging that their talcum powder products caused ovarian cancer. These cases involve a potential correlation between the product in its typical form when regularly applied to the genital area, and women developing ovarian cancer.
In terms of the cases involving mesothelioma, these plaintiffs allege that Johnson & Johnson’s talc products were contaminated. Plaintiffs such as Rosalind Henry, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2016, believe the talcum powder contained asbestos, which has been established as a potential cause of lung cancer. Although Henry’s case was decided in favor of the defendant, another jury in New Jersey awarded $117 million in the case of a man who said he developed mesothelioma from regular use of Johnson & Johnson’s talcum baby powder product. This suggests that each talcum powder case must be evaluated on its own merits before a jury can make a determination.
Contaminated Product Attorneys in New Jersey
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer after consistent use of talcum powder or another product with potential links to cancer, there may be legal options available to you. The experienced New Jersey product liability attorneys at Fronzuto Law Group have achieved millions in compensation on behalf of victims who suffer harm as a result of defective or contaminated products. If you have questions about an illness or injury that you believe may be linked with product, we are here for you. Contact our office anytime at 973-435-4551 for additional information. Our legal team provides consultations free of charge.