In May 2020 Johnson and Johnson announced that they would no longer be selling baby powder that contains talc in the United States or Canada. The manufacturer said they were doing so because there is no longer a consumer demand for the product after thousands of lawsuits were filed alleging that the product causes mesothelioma and ovarian cancer.
The manufacturer blamed the lack of consumer interest in their talc on what they described in a statement as a “constant barrage of litigation advertising.” In other words, once the public became aware of the potential dangers involved with using this product, they stopped buying it, and a danger was removed from the public.
Johnson & Johnson knew for decades that asbestos lurked in its Baby Powder, but they failed to protect consumers from the known risks of asbestos. That is why the manufacturer was forced to pay out billions in lawsuit settlements.
Unfortunately, for the 19,400 people who filed lawsuits against Johnson and Johnson, this awareness of the lawsuits comes too late. There may also be people still using powder that was sold before May who are unaware that they are potentially exposing themselves to a dangerous substance that could make them seriously ill or even kill them.
Why Talc Is Dangerous
What’s wrong with Johnson’s Baby Powder? Nothing is wrong with their newer cornstarch-based products. What was wrong with the classic baby powder they are known for is the fact that it was manufactured using talc, which put everyone from talc miners to babies in harm’s way by potentially exposing them to asbestos.
Since 1894, Johns t on & Johnson Baby Powder has been a staple in many homes. For over a century, if you had a baby, you had a container of Johnson and Johnson sitting on your changing table. People were faithful users of this product because it helps prevent diaper rash, reduces chafing, and absorbs moisture.
If only the manufacturers had been held accountable sooner, decades of preventable illnesses and deaths could have been avoided. The next time you buy a Johnson and Johnson powder product, check the ingredients on the label to make sure you’re getting the cornstarch version.
How Talc Hurts People
The talc that is used to make talcum powder products has been said to be asbestos-free since the 1970s. The problem with this is when talc is in its natural form, it does contain asbestos. Researchers are searching for a link between cancer and asbestos-free talc, but so far there have been no conclusive findings.
Talc can be dangerous for babies. Studies have shown that when an infant inhales baby powder they are at risk of:
- Lung damage
- Breathing problems
Women who use talc-based baby powder also may be at a higher risk of ovarian cancer. When women use talc to control moisture and prevent chafing around their genital area, the talc can travel into their reproductive system, where it then causes cancer.
Talc miners and other workers are also at increased risk of developing cancer. In one study it was determined that deaths from lung cancer increased in miners and talc workers. During the study, 17 miners and 161 talc workers died.
What to Do if You’ve Used Talc
If you’ve been using talc-based baby powder and you didn’t realize there was a level of risk involved, the odds are on your side. Most people who used talc products did not develop cancer.
If you’ve been experiencing troubling symptoms like abdominal swelling, chest pain, and shortness of breath, it’s important to see a doctor so you can be evaluated for mesothelioma. You may also want to consider hiring a talcum powder lawyer. You may be able to join a class action lawsuit.
Your health should always be your first priority. If you have any concerns about using powder, don’t hesitate to discuss them with your physician. They can help put your fears into perspective, order any necessary tests, and create a medical record you can use as evidence if you end up in court.