It may come as a shock that talcum powder – a common household product which is widely available in pharmacies, grocery stores, and online – can cause a serious illness like ovarian cancer. Many women across the United States use talcum powder in various ways without knowing that it may be affecting their health adversely. Thankfully, more information and studies regarding the risks of talcum powder are being released every day. If you or a family member developed ovarian cancer after using talcum powder, you should consult with an experienced injury attorney for help pursuing justice and compensation.
Talcum powder lawyer Prosper Shaked understands the pain and difficulty of living with a life-threatening illness, and is here to provide you with the aggressive legal representation that you deserve. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, Prosper Shaked can fight to obtain compensation and hold the product manufacturers accountable. To schedule a free legal consultation, call Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA at (305) 694-2676, or contact us online. Someone is prepared to assist you 24 hours a day.
What is Talcum Powder?
Talcum powder is produced from talc. Talc is a mineral that is primarily comprised of three elements: magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. When converted into a powder, talc helps to absorb moisture and reduce friction. For these reasons, talcum powder is frequently used to maintain dry skin and to avoid suffering a rash.
Talcum powder is used in a variety of consumer products and applications, including the following examples:
- On wrappers for chewing gum and candy to prevent sticking
- To polish grains of white rice
- To increase clarity and quality in olive oil
- To provide texture and decrease oil levels in various types of face makeup
- In deodorant to absorb moisture and soap to help with skin care
- To prevent caking in various long-acting medications
- To prevent fluid from building in the lungs of a cystic fibrosis patient
- To deal with fluid buildup (pleural effusion) that may affect lung cancer patients
Many women also use talcum powder in their genital area for various reasons. Therefore, it is important to understand whether talc is harmful when used in certain ways.
How Dangerous is Talcum Powder?
When discussing whether talcum powder or baby powder can cause cancer, it is important to know that talc in its original form contains asbestos, whereas talc designed for consumers is usually asbestos-free. There have been various studies that concluded talc that contains asbestos is capable of causing cancer if it is inhaled. Information regarding whether asbestos-free talc may cause cancer is still being researched.
Recent research has suggested that talcum powder may cause cancer of the ovaries under certain circumstances. Many of the relevant studies involved women who purposely or inadvertently applied talcum powder to their genital area using wipes, condoms, or other means. Researchers are also studying whether talcum powder that travels through the fallopian tubes to the ovary can cause ovarian cancer.
Findings detailing the link between ovarian cancer and talcum powder have been mixed. Some studies claim that talcum powder does not increase the risk of cancer. In others, talcum powder has been shown to cause an increase in the risk of developing ovarian cancer. As research is still in the process of being conducted, it is impossible to calculate the true severity of the risks talcum powder may pose for women.
There are several national and international agencies that are also studying whether talcum powder is a carcinogen, or substance that causes cancer. For example, the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP) is still examining whether talc is a possible carcinogen. Additionally, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is a member of the World Health Organization (WHO), has stated that talcum powder used in the genital areas can cause cancer.
If you want to reduce your exposure to talcum powder because you are concerned about ovarian cancer or other forms of cancer, you may wish to avoid several types of products often found in the home. The list above details which consumer products normally contain talcum powder and how it is used. You should read any consumer product labels closely to avoid accidentally exposing yourself to talcum powder.
Signs and Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
The female reproductive system has two ovaries that are responsible for producing eggs (ova) and regulating hormones like estrogen and progesterone. Ovarian cancer is a type of cancer that affects a woman’s ovaries. Ovarian cancer is often difficult to detect and can be fatal if not treated early enough.
The main reason that ovarian cancer is difficult to detect early is that its signs and symptoms can be linked to several other conditions. Unfortunately, ovarian cancer is therefore sometimes mistaken for conditions that are not as severe. Some common signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer include:
- Weight loss
- Frequently urinating
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Abdominal bloating or swelling
- Feeling full after eating only a small amount of food
- Changes in bowel habits, like frequently being constipated
- Discomfort in the pelvis or genital area
- Sudden changes in your menstrual period, like experiencing heavier or irregular bleeding
This is not an exhaustive list. There are other symptoms and signs of ovarian cancer that are not listed above. If you experience any of the signs and symptoms listed above, or other warning signs that are not listed here, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Ovarian Cancer Risk Factors
There are several factors that may increase your chances of developing ovarian cancer. While there are some changes that can be made to decrease the likelihood of cancer, there are also risk factors that cannot be altered.
Women who are 63 years of age or older are at a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer. While it is true that women of all ages can be diagnosed with ovarian cancer, this disease is less prevalent among women under the age of 40. Most women with ovarian cancer develop the disease after menopause.
Being overweight is a common risk factor for ovarian cancer and many other forms of cancer. Women who have a body mass index (BMI) of at least 30 may have an increased risk. However, obesity is not clearly linked to the most aggressive forms of ovarian cancer. It is important to note that obesity may also impact the survival rate of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
Late and Premature Pregnancies
Women who have a history of premature pregnancies are at a higher risk of contracting ovarian cancer. If you become pregnant after the age of 35, your chances of developing ovarian cancer will also increase.
Menopausal Hormone Therapy (MHT)
Women who utilize estrogen after menopause increase their chances of getting ovarian cancer. This risk is higher among women who solely take estrogen for at least five to 10 years.
Family History of Ovarian Cancer
You may have an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer due to your family history. If your mother, sister, or daughter has ovarian cancer, there is a risk that you could develop the disease as well. It is also possible that your father may cause you to have an increased risk by passing down certain genetic mutations.
There are many other risk factors for ovarian cancer that are not listed above. If you currently use or have previously used talcum powder, and possess one or more of the traits that place consumers at elevated risk, you should consider being tested for ovarian cancer.
Filing a Talcum Powder Lawsuit for Ovarian Cancer
Deane Berg filed one of the initial ovarian cancer lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson in 2009. Berg rejected a $1.3 million settlement offer and a confidentiality agreement to warn others of the possible dangers of talcum powder. While Berg prevailed in her case, the jury did not award her any damages. The case concluded in 2013 and led to increased litigation against Johnson & Johnson and other companies with talc-based products.
In July 2018, a jury in a talcum powder case in Missouri ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $4.69 billion in damages to 22 women who developed ovarian cancer after using their products. Currently, there are over 9,000 cases in state and federal courts against Johnson & Johnson regarding talc-based products like Shower-to-Shower and Johnson’s Baby Powder. While the effects of talcum powder are still being researched, cases regarding talcum powder and ovarian cancer will likely continue to pour in.
Manufacturers and retailers of consumer products have a duty to ensure that items they are producing or selling are fit for consumer use. A product like talcum powder that may cause ovarian cancer should at least warn consumers of the possible dangers.
When a dangerous and defective product causes deaths or injuries, there are three types of product liability claims that may be filed: manufacturing defect claims, design defect claims, and failure-to-warn claims. Lawsuits involving the use of talcum powder may involve a design defect or failures to warn. A design defect lawsuit alleges that there is a flaw in the underlying design of the product that causes injury, even if the product is appropriately manufactured according to specifications. A failure-to-warn claim alleges that a product did not warn consumers of a non-obvious danger, such as cancer risk, associated with the product.
Ovarian Cancer Lawsuit Lawyer Handling Death and Injury Claims
If you believe that you developed ovarian cancer from using talcum powder, you should contact an experienced product liability lawyer to help you explore and pursue your legal options. Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA can help you research and build your potential claim against a manufacturer of talcum powder. Prosper Shaked believes in holding negligent product manufacturers accountable for their actions. To schedule a free legal consultation, contact us online, or call Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA at (305) 694-2676.