A lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson (J&J) claiming the company was negligent in providing information about risks of ovarian cancer has been joined by over 1,000 women. Imerys Talc America, the largest talc supplier in America and the only source of talc for J&J is also involved in the lawsuit. Since 2013, J&J has spent more than $5 billion to settle legal claims related to its products, reports BioSpace.com.
For decades, countless women have used J&J talc-based products as part of their feminine hygiene regimen, which some are suggesting is a contributing factor to the development of ovarian cancer in women. A jury awarded $72 million in February 2016 to the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer who blamed J&J’s talc product for her disease. The company maintained that the product was safe, but the jury found that J&J knew about risk and did not disclose that knowledge to the public, BioSpace.com reports.
Talcum powder is widely used in cosmetic products, such as baby powder and adult body and facial powders. The powder, made from talc, a mineral that consists of the elements magnesium, silicon, and oxygen, is used to absorb moisture and cut down on friction, thus is often used in the genital area. Some talc contains asbestos, a substance that has been linked to cancers in the lungs when inhaled, according to the American Cancer Society, reports “TheLawFirm.com.
In 1971, Bloomberg noted that British researchers examined 13 ovarian tumors and found talc residue was “deeply imbedded” in 10 of them. This was the first study to suggest a connection between talc and ovarian cancer.
J&J’s talc-based products are classified as cosmetics and therefore, do not have to undergo a review or approval process by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), BioSpace.com reports.