How Can Talcum Powder Cause Ovarian Cancer | Johnson & Johnson Ordered To Pay $4.7bn Damages Over Talc

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Why Johnson & Johnson Ordered To Pay $4.7bn Damages Over Talc

I think it’s fair to say that most of us trust the products that we buy.

If you are like me, you’ll presume that the experts in their white coats have done adequate testing to safeguard everyday folks like you and me.

Well, it turns out that not every product on the supermarket shelf may be as safe as we’d like to believe.

Johnson & Johnson have just been ordered to pay $4.7bn damages to 22 women who claimed that Talc products caused them to develop ovarian cancer.

Six of the women from the twenty-two presented in this legal case has died from ovarian cancer.

How Can Talc Cause Ovarian Cancer?

There have been suggestions however that Talcum Powder may cause ovarian cancer. The argument for this suggestion is that particles could pass into the ovary if the Talc were applied to the genital area. It could be applied directly, or via sanitary towels or condoms. The particles then could travel via the uterus and fallopian tubes to the ovary.

What Is Talc?

Talc is a mineral and is, in fact, the softest mineral on our planet.

Having the chemical formula: H2Mg3(SiO3)4 or Mg3Si4O10(OH)2, Talc is a clay mineral, and the commercial product is often referred to as Talcum Powder.

Talc is mined just like any other mineral. For personal use, the highest quality talc is used, and extensive controls are in place to try to ensure its purity.

Asbestos Is A Dirty Word

Asbestos Is A Dirty Word

One problem with mining for talc is that the mineral is frequently located close to Asbestos. Asbestos is formed from a set of six silicate minerals and is composed of a long crystalline composition.

While Asbestos has been mined for many years, the 19th Century saw a rapid increase in its usage for mainly for industrial purposes.

Asbestos has various properties that appeared to make it the perfect fit for the building and construction industries. Having a natural resistance to fire and also offering sound absorption properties, this ‘wonder mineral’ was soon the go-to solution for many building projects.

So what was the problem?

During the 1920’s and the 1930’s, it was becoming very apparent that Asbestos had an evil friend up its sleeve. Inhaling fibers from Asbestos products was causing high instances of fatal illnesses such as lung cancer.

Asbestosis is another very harmful side effect of inhaling Asbestos fibers. Scarring and inflammation of lung tissues characterize this condition. The person living with Asbestosis will typically struggle to breathe and may suffer from wheezing and coughing. Asbestosis can also lead to lung cancer.

Johnson & Johnson Argued Their Case Saying That Their Talc Products Are Safe

In all cases, there are two sides to every story. Johnson & Johnson denied that their Talc products could cause ovarian cancer. Their case focused on their strict testing procedures. Johnson & Johnson argued that the verdict was a product of a “fundamentally unfair process.”

Johnson & Johnson describe their safety measures as follows: “The testing methodology used to detect asbestos in cosmetic grade talcum powder was developed by the Personal Care Products, formerly known as the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CTFA), Inc., in 1976 and is still used and accepted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The methodology we use for testing Johnson’s Baby Powder exceeds the CFTA industry standard.”

If Asbestos Affects The Lungs, Then How Could It Cause Ovarian Cancer?

Until recently, lung-related illnesses have been the primary focus for Asbestos-related diseases.

There have been suggestions however that Talcum Powder may cause ovarian cancer. The argument for this suggestion is that particles could pass into the ovary if the Talc were applied to the genital area. It could be applied directly, or via sanitary towels or condoms. The particles then could travel via the uterus and fallopian tubes to the ovary.

How Do We Know If The Products We Buy Are Safe?

Sadly, that takes victims to answer that question.

There are numerous stories published every year telling us that this or that can cause cancer. Statistics are the only real evidence in the end, and reading product labels don’t always provide us with enough information.

But even if reading labels did offer more information, then whom can we actually trust?