Talc as a Potential Cause of Cancer: Should You File a Talcum Powder Lawsuit?

It might seem like an innocuous product, but talcum powder can cause cancer in people who are exposed to it regularly. Although manufacturers of baby powder, body powder, facial powder, and other powder products maintain that talcum powder is safe for routine use, some regulatory agencies classify it as a probable carcinogen. Many doctors recommend against two of its traditional uses: absorbing moisture in the genital area of babies and of adults. 

Considering this information, you might be surprised to learn that talcum powder manufacturers are not required to place a warning label on these products. Without knowing about the potentially dangerous consequences of talcum powder, many people continue to use it on themselves and their children, potentially increasing their cancer risk. If you or a family member used talcum powder regularly and developed cancer, you may be eligible to file a talcum powder lawsuit.

What Is Talcum Powder and Which Products Contain Talc?

According to the American Cancer Society, talcum powder is a powder made from talc—a mineral comprised of magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. Talcum powder is soft and absorbs moisture easily. For decades, manufacturers have used talcum powder in baby powder, adult body powder, and facial powder to reduce the friction and moisture that can cause rashes or chafing.

Although doctors recommend against using talcum powder on a baby’s diaper area or an adult’s genital area, many people continue to do so. Most people do not ask their doctors about using these widely available products. So, unless the issue comes up during an appointment, they may not know about the potential downsides to talcum powder use. 

Does Talcum Powder Cause Cancer?

A study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health reports that talcum powder sold in stores is rarely pure talcum powder. This study analyzed 20 distinct brands of talcum powder that are widely available in stores across the nation. Most of the evaluated samples contained many other minerals and chemicals, including 10 that contained tremolite and anthophyllite—two different forms of asbestos. Asbestos is a known carcinogen.

It makes sense that if talcum powder may contain asbestos, people who use talcum powder on themselves or their children may be at higher risk for developing cancer. In addition, people who work with talcum powder, such as talc miners who are at risk of inhaling it, may develop lung cancer. Scientists continue to study the links between talcum powder and ovarian cancer and talcum powder and lung cancer.

Does Talcum Powder Cause Ovarian Cancer?

One study reported in the journal Gynecologic Oncology compared the size and shape of talc particles found in talcum powder to the size and shape of talc particles found in reproductive tissue removed via hysterectomy from talc-exposed patients with ovarian cancer. The study found that these particles were the same size and shape, indicating that talc particles can move into the reproductive tract when women apply talcum powder to their genital area.

Another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Pathology examined pelvic and reproductive tissues of women with ovarian cancer. Researchers found talc particles in tissues of the pelvic region lymph nodes, cervix, uterine corpus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. Most women in the study had talc particles in more than one of these tissues. 

Finally, a study reported in the journal Epidemiology found that regular use of talcum powder in the genital area was associated with a 33% increase in ovarian cancer risk when compared to talcum powder use in non-genital areas. The findings of these and other studies suggest that talcum powder may indeed cause ovarian cancer. 

Does Talcum Powder Cause Lung Cancer?

The International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, classifies talc-based body powder as possibly carcinogenic. Their data confirms that talc miners have a higher rate of both lung cancer and mesothelioma. According to Mayo Clinic, mesothelioma is cancer of the mesothelium, a lining that covers most internal organs, including the lungs. It is an aggressive cancer that is deadly for many people.

Most people who are exposed to talcum powder will be exposed by using it as a cosmetic product, such as baby powder, body powder, or facial powder. Others are exposed to it occupationally while mining, milling, or processing talcum powder. Talcum powder can be used in secondary industries as well, such as ceramics, paper, rubber, and paint production. Inhaling talc is especially dangerous as it may introduce asbestos particles to the lungs and other internal organs.

Talcum Powder and Talc Exposure Claims, Lawsuits, and Settlements

Thousands of people have already sought compensation from talcum powder manufacturers. They claim that their exposure to talc by using talcum powder products led them to develop cancer, and that the manufacturers were negligent in failing to place a warning label on these products. Here are a few examples of people who have successfully sued Johnson & Johnson for personal injury because of cancer they developed after years of using talcum powder:

  • KSDK 5 On Your Side reports that in June 2020, the Missouri Court of Appeals upheld a 2018 verdict against Johnson & Johnson, a major manufacturer of talcum powder products. The original judgment against Johnson & Johnson awarded $4.69 billion to 22 women who claimed they developed ovarian cancer because of their use of the company’s talcum powder. The appeals judgment reduced the award to $2.1 billion.
  • NBC News reports that in October 2016, Deborah Giannecchini was awarded over $70 million from Johnson & Johnson for damages related to her ovarian cancer. She had used the company’s talcum powder for more than 45 years and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age 59.
  • The New York Post reports that Donna and Robert Olson won a judgment of $25 million in compensatory damages and $300 million in punitive damages in May 2019. For decades, Donna used Johnson & Johnson baby powder on her chest and underarms after showering. Doctors diagnosed her with mesothelioma in 2016 and she eventually had to have one lung removed.

These cases show that talcum powder lawsuits are a legitimate way for victims to obtain compensation from negligent talcum powder manufacturers. In addition to the cases above, there are many other ongoing cases that may be resolved with a court trial or an out-of-court settlement.

What Is the Talcum Powder Lawsuit Statute of Limitations?

Each state has its own statute of limitations for personal injury cases. This statute establishes the legal deadline for filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party. The statute of limitations varies from state to state but is usually around two to three years. 

You might think that it is too late for you to sue the talcum powder manufacturer for your losses. However, that is not necessarily true. Many people do not develop cancer until years after their exposure to talcum powder. When this occurs, the clock for the statute of limitations begins when you first notice symptoms or receive a diagnosis of your illness. A lawyer can help you determine how long you have to sue.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits for Talcum Powder Cancer

Sadly, some victims of cancer caused by talcum powder exposure do not live long enough to hold the manufacturer responsible for their illness. If your family member passed away because of talcum powder-related cancer, you may be able to file a lawsuit for wrongful death. The deadline for filing a wrongful death lawsuit also varies from state to state, so contact a lawyer to find out how much time you have to sue and if you have a case.

What Is The Average Settlement For Talcum Powder Lawsuits?

There is no average settlement for a talcum powder lawsuit. Each case is different, so consult a talcum powder lawsuit attorney to learn how much compensation you may be able to recover for your losses caused by talcum powder exposure. A lawyer can evaluate your case, estimate the value of your losses, and help you decide if a lawsuit is a legitimate way for you to recover damages from a negligent talcum powder manufacturer.

You may be able to recover both economic damages (which are tangible losses) and non-economic damages (which are intangible losses) directly caused by your illness. 

Economic Damages Caused by Talcum Powder Exposure

When you are sick, you probably expect to incur medical bills. However, you may not realize that you could also lose your ability to work or drive. Losing your income and relying on taxis or rideshare services can feel like an added burden when you do not have any money coming in. 

You may be able to recover damages for:

  • Diagnostic tests such as X-rays, MRIs, ultrasounds, CT scans, bloodwork, and biopsies
  • Cancer treatment including chemotherapy, radiation, and surgeries
  • Prescription medication
  • Hospital stays
  • Outpatient exams
  • Emergency room visits
  • Follow-up appointments
  • Physical therapy
  • Mental health counseling related to your cancer diagnosis and treatment 
  • Transportation to and from your appointments if you cannot drive
  • Loss of income if you have to take unpaid time off work because of your illness
  • Loss of earning capacity if your cancer prevents you from returning to the same job or a job that pays as well as your previous employment
  • Loss of benefits such as health insurance if you have to leave your job
  • Future loss of income if you cannot return to work because of your cancer diagnosis

Non-Economic Damages Caused by Talcum Powder Exposure

No amount of money can truly compensate you for the pain and heartache that come with a cancer diagnosis. However, pursuing non-economic damages allows you to hold the talcum powder manufacturer accountable for failing to warn you and others about the potential hazards of using talcum powder regularly. 

You may be able to recover damages for:

  • Physical pain caused by your illness and its treatment, including chemotherapy and radiation
  • Emotional distress, especially if you become anxious or depressed or develop other conditions like insomnia because of your illness
  • Psychological trauma such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because of your diagnosis and fear of cancer recurrence 
  • Permanent disability, which is a common side effect of chemotherapy 
  • Reduced quality of life if your ill health, difficult cancer treatment, and unpleasant side effects lower your quality of life

A lawyer will use evidence to estimate the total value of your damages. They may use your medical bills and records, previous salary and employer-provided benefits, transportation receipts, expert medical testimony, and more to determine how much compensation you deserve. When you seek compensation, this estimate can help you decide whether to accept an out-of-court settlement offer, continue with settlement negotiations, or move forward with litigation.

It May Not Be Too Late to File a Talc Lawsuit

If you were diagnosed with lung cancer, mesothelioma, ovarian cancer, or another type of cancer that you believe was caused by talcum powder exposure, you may be able to sue the talcum powder manufacturer for financial compensation. Even if your exposure to talcum powder occurred years ago, it may not be too late for you to file a talc lawsuit. Talk with a lawyer who has experience handling talcum powder lawsuits about your case.

Do not let your chance to seek compensation slip by because you think too much time has passed. A talcum powder lawyer can give you more information about your opportunity to recover damages for economic and non-economic losses caused by your illness.

Take Action Now With the Help of a Talcum Powder Lawyer

If you or a loved one regularly used talcum powder and developed cancer that you believe was caused by talc exposure, you may be able to recover damages for the losses that resulted from your illness. These may include medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and more.

You have a legal right to seek the compensation you deserve on behalf of yourself or your family. To connect with a talcum powder lawyer in our network and learn more about filling a talc lawsuit, fill out our contact form today.