Growing Number of Talcum Powder Users File Lawsuits

Growing Number of Talcum Powder Users File Lawsuits

A recent settlement between Colgate-Palmolive Co., and a plaintiff from Pennsylvania who developed mesothelioma after using their talcum-powder based products, is part of a growing number of lawsuits against health giants such as Colgate-Palmolive Co., and Johnson & Johnson for their failure to warn consumers that their body powder products pose a cancer threat.

Talcum powder (more commonly known as baby powder) is marketed as a safe and gentle product – a substance that absorbs moisture, useful in keeping skin dry and preventing rashes, and rarely causes skin irritations or allergic reactions. However, in the past couple years; hundreds have sued Johnson & Johnson claiming that their product after decades of use is tied to ovarian cancer.  Johnson & Johnson has been forced to pay millions to cancer victims after reports from the 1970s showed a series of studies that linked talcum powder to ovarian cancer and that Johnson & Johnson could have known about these risks as early as 1982.

Now the talc-based products produced by Johnson & Johnson and Colgate Palmolive Co., are being linked to mesothelioma, a rare but aggressive cancer whose only known cause is asbestos exposure. Asbestos can often be found in talc deposits and could go undetected when common household products such as baby powder are produced. The latency period between asbestos exposure and illness can be 20 or more years. Plaintiffs involved in the lawsuits allege that decades of consistent use and exposure has led to their lung disease, and companies like Johnson & Johnson and Colgate- Palmolive Co., knew of these hazards, but failed to warn consumers.

These are some of the first cases to link cosmetic talc powders to mesothelioma – a disease often associated with steelworkers, construction workers, shipyard workers, and military personnel who were exposed to asbestos through the equipment they used or the products they produced in the mid-20thcentury. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral, mined as a solid rock that is able to pulled apart, revealing fire resistant fibers that were used in thousands of products ranging from  plastics, adhesives,  and insulation, to paints, roofing, soundproofing, pipe covering, and brake pads.

Earlier this year a study from the Tisch Cancer Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan found that women who use talcum powder daily have a 20% higher risk of developing ovarian cancer than women who do not. Johnson & Johnson is now faced with more than 5,500 claims that their product causes ovarian cancer and Colgate-Palmolive Co., another 170.

For decades, large companies and corporations knew of the dangers of asbestos but neglected to warn their employees and consumers alike, placing profits above health. If you are suffering from ovarian cancer or mesothelioma you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. Contact the attorneys at Goldberg, Persky & White, P.C. for a free case review and find more information about the compensation you deserve.


Jef Freeley & Margaret Cronin Fisk, “Colgate-Palmolive Settles Over Asbestos in It’s Talc,” Bloomberg (November 10, 2017). [Link]


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