Talcum Powder

Talcum Powder

Talcum powder has been linked with the appearance of ovarian and uterine cancer, in addition to other injuries. Speak with an attorney about a Talcum Powder related Injury.

What is Talcum Powder?

The main ingredient for talcum powder is talc. Talc is a soft white mineral soapstone, primarily made of magnesium silicate, silicon, and oxygen. Talcum powder is found in a variety of over-the-counter cosmetic products.

Talcum powders include:

  • Adult Facial Powder
  • Adult Body Powder
  • Baby Powder

Why Is Talc Dangerous?

Both talc and asbestos are naturally-occuring minerals, often mined alongside one another. While talc is used in a number of cosmetic products, including baby powder, makeup and more, asbestos is a known carcinogen and has been linked to serious health issues.

The presence of asbestos in talc-containing products has become public only within the last few years, but has created a significant product liability issue for manufacturers. Though only a small percentage of talc products screened positive for asbestos contamination, and there is no consistent link between talc products and asbestos, the fact that any asbestos was detectable in any cosmetic talc products raises legitimate concerns.

There is no known safe level of exposure to asbestos, and consumers would not reasonably expect cosmetic products, such as baby powder, to contain asbestos. In addition to neglecting to label talc products with a health warning, claims have also argued that manufacturers have not done an adequate job of screening their talc products for asbestos.

Who Makes it?

Talc-based products are sold by a number of companies globally. These companies are primarily in the cosmetic and home care space. The flagship talcum powder brand is sold by Johnson & Johnson, although many other brands sell talcum-based powders.

How Does it Work?

Talcum powder is used for preventing excessive sweating in sensitive areas.

Talcum powder works by:

  • Absorbing moisture
  • Keeping skin dry
  • Cutting down on friction
  • Preventing or soothing rashes

What Is Talcum Powder Used For?

People have used talcum powder around the world for centuries.It is not exclusive to any industry or brand.Talcum powder is most suitable as a drying agent, and some users even treat it as an offhand tool by washing their hair with it or keeping surfaces dry.

Nowadays, the airy mineral is used most often in the following products:

  • Baby powder
  • Chalk
  • Makeup, such as blush, foundation, and eye shadow
  • Paints and glazes
  • Soap
  • Condoms
  • Drug capsules
  • Deodorant
  • Toothpaste

Types of Talc Powder Products

Talc is a naturally occurring mineral made of magnesium, silicon, oxygen. Its absorbent properties make it a common choice for personal hygiene products, because it can reduce moisture and friction on the skin. That’s why many women apply talcum powder to their genital areas and use it on their children to prevent diaper rashes. However, the mineral is also listed as an ingredient in hundreds of other types of products. Here are some of the cosmetic powders that contain talc:

  • Baby powder
  • Body powder
  • Foot powder
  • Pressed powder
  • Blush
  • Eyeshadow
  • Concealer
  • Antiperspirant

Talcum Powder Risks and Side Effects

Thousands of women have filed lawsuits claiming baby powder and other talc-based products caused their ovarian cancer, but that’s only one side effect from exposure to talc dust. In its natural form, talc contains asbestos, a known cancer-causing substance. Although consumer grade talc products have been asbestos-free since the early 1970s, the FDA admits its product testing for contamination can’t ensure every product is safe. However, for talc miners who inhale talc dust, the risk of asbestos exposure is real, and victims point to the increased incidences of lung cancer among workers. Several plaintiffs have sued Johnson & Johnson for asbestos-related cancers like mesothelioma. Here are the common side effects victims have suffered from talc exposure:

Reported Talcum Powder Side Effects

  • Ovarian cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Mesothelioma
  • Endometrial (uterine) cancer

Health Risks of Talcum Powder and Its Links to Cancer


Ovarian Cancer

Women have used talcum powder as a feminine hygiene product for many decades because it reduces friction, moisture, and odor. However, it may be dangerous to use near the genitals. Organizations such as the American Cancer Society acknowledge that talcum powder, if applied near or to the genitals, may travel to a woman’s ovaries, increasing a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer.



The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies asbestos, a natural mineral, as a human carcinogen. When an individual inhales asbestos-contaminated talcum powder, there is an increased risk of developing mesothelioma. Talc mines may be close to asbestos deposits, increasing the chance that talc may be contaminated with asbestos when mined.

How does talcum powder cause ovarian cancer?

For decades, women have applied talcum powder to their genital areas, sanitary napkins, diaphrams, or condoms. Studies suggest baby powder particles can travel through the vagina, uterus, and fallopian tubes to the ovaries, raising the risks of ovarian cancer in some women. A study of 4,000 women released in 2016 showed those who routinely applied talc in this way had a 33 percent higher risk of ovarian cancer. A woman in the U.S. has a 1 in 70 chance of having ovarian cancer. Studies show that women who have used talc have a 1 in 53 percent chance.


Baby Powder Containing Talcum Powder

If you look at talcum powder on its own, it looks just like baby powder.That’s because it is the main ingredient in many baby powders along with cornstarch.In fact, the physical properties of talcum powder make it an alternative to brand name baby powder on its own.The most famous talcum baby powder is made by Johnson & Johnson, a product they’ve sold for over 100 years. It’s intended for babies but is popular for all ages.Controversy has surrounded Johnson & Johnson baby powder after thousands of its users have claimed that the powder caused them to develop adverse health effects such as cancer and mesothelioma. Researchers believe these injuries to be caused by the talcum powder. Talc companies will market the mineral as “pure” or “organic” but fail to ensure the quality of their product. As a result, some talcum powder contains harmful impurities, namely asbestos, a known carcinogen. Inhalation of asbestos can damage the lungs over time and lead to fatal complications.

What Is the Difference Between Talc and Baby Powder?

There is little difference between talc and baby powder. In the past, they could only be differentiated by the scents added to them and the way their makers marketed them.

Baby powder was explicitly made for babies. It was manufactured to prevent diaper rashes as they keep the baby’s skin dry. The main ingredient used in baby powders is either talc or cornstarch, depending on the manufacturer. Some manufacturers still use talc, while others have already shifted to preferring cornstarch because of the issues surrounding talc.


Baby Powder Cancer

Research relating asbestos-free baby powder to cancer is conflicting, but the investigation is ongoing.

Some studies suggest that baby powder increases the risk of uterine cancer.

Other studies show that talcum powder increases the risk of lung cancer but only in talc miners, not baby powder consumers.

The government has taken steps to reduce asbestos exposure since the 1970s, but they are yet to intervene with talcum powder.

The World Health Organization classifies asbestos as carcinogenic but has not ruled the same for pure talcum powder.

Nonetheless, many baby powder manufacturers such as Johnson & Johnson warn buyers not to inhale the powder.

Other baby powder companies have even added warning labels for ovarian cancer.

Taking preventative measures to phase out talc is crucial because cancers become less treatable the further they progress.

How Does Talcum Powder Cause Cancer?

Talc, when in its natural form, contains asbestos. Asbestos is a silicate mineral used in insulation and makes materials fire-resistant with its heat-resistant and flexible fibers. Exposure to asbestos is highly toxic when inhaled or ingested, as the fibers get trapped inside the body. These trapped fibers cause scarring and inflammation from within. Being subjected to asbestos causes mesothelioma, lung diseases, and even cancer.

Is Talcum Powder Safe for Children?

The discussions about talcum powder cancer risks and why doesn’t it affect children are two contradicting concepts. To clear things up, talcum powder can affect and can be harmful to children. Pediatricians from the American Association of Pediatrics greatly recommend parents avoid using any baby powder with talc as one of the ingredients on their children, especially babies. This is because children and babies can easily inhale the talc particles in the air and cause health problems.


How to Protect Your Baby

  • Use a cornstarch-based powder instead of talcum powder.
  • Always keep baby powder out of reach of children.
  • Keep powder away from your child’s face to avoid inhalation.
  • When using powder, place it on your hands first away from your child and then apply to your baby’s skin.
  • Use powder sparingly.
  • Do not use talcum powder on broken skin.
  • Never use any type of powder around infants who are premature or have lung problems.
  • Use over-the-counter creams and ointments instead of powder to treat diaper rash.

Why was baby powder advertised as being safe for diapers and underwear?

In 1892, Johnson & Johnson’s director of scientific affairs, Dr. Frederick B. Kilmer, first invented a scented talc powder intended “for toilet and nursery”. Since then, baby powder has become so associated with the smell of babies as to be inseparable, and untold numbers of women have used the product on themselves and their families. However, in the early 1970s questions around its safety first came to the public’s attention. Nearly forty peer-reviewed studies later, the potential link between talcum powder, asbestos contamination, and cancer continues to gain scientific consensus. Despite almost a billion dollars in court awards against Johnson & Johnson, the FDA continues to list commercial grade talcum powder products as safe for consumers.


Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder Lawsuits

Johnson & Johnson is one of the many companies that has faced lawsuits over asbestos-contaminated talcum powder, especially in its baby powder products. In October 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) completed a year-long study of talc-containing cosmetic products. After detecting asbestos in several of the products, the FDA worked with manufacturers, including J&J, on recalls of some of the products that contained traces of asbestos. Later in that same month, J&J recalled a single lot of Johnson’s Baby Powder.

By April 2020, J&J was named in thousands of lawsuits alleging a link between the company’s talc products and cancer diagnoses, leading the company to announce it would no longer sell talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder product in the U.S. or Canada. As of July 2022, J&J had nearly 38,000 cases related to asbestos in talc products and had paid approximately $4 billion in settlements, verdicts and defense costs.

In August 2022, J&J stated it would pull all talcum powder products off the global market in 2023, replacing talc with cornstarch.

Talcum Powder Litigation: What Is the Talcum Powder Lawsuit?

Individuals are filing lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson after long-term exposure to talcum powder caused them to develop cancer. These lawsuits allege that talcum powder caused cancer and that Johnson & Johnson knew about the cancer risks and failed to warn consumers.

A few of the products that have been named in the talc powder lawsuits include:

  • Johnson’s Baby Powder
  • Shower to Shower

Who Can File a Talcum Powder Lawsuit?

You may be entitled to compensation for damages if the following talcum powder lawsuit criteria apply to your situation:

  • You have had significant exposure to talcum powder or another talc-based product for an extended period.
  • You have ovarian cancer or a mesothelioma diagnosis.

Compensation for victims of talcum powder

Victims of talcum body powder stand to recover compensatory damages and punitive damages in a successful lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson. These are meant to cover the victim’s losses and setbacks, including:

  • Medical expenses,
  • Lost wages,
  • Reduced earning capacity,
  • Pain and suffering, and
  • Their family’s loss of consortium.

When the victim has died from their condition, their family can pursue a wrongful death claim on their behalf. The compensation available in a wrongful death lawsuit is slightly different, as it focuses on the impact of the death on the victim’s family, rather than compensating the victim.

Additionally, numerous verdicts against Johnson & Johnson have awarded punitive damages against the company for its attempts to cover up the risks of their baby powder. This portion of the verdict has frequently been well beyond the amount of compensation that has been awarded to a victim or their family, and is meant to punish Johnson & Johnson for its conduct.

What Is the Expect Settlement Amounts for a Talcum Powder Lawsuit?

It is too early to accurately predict what the average settlement compenation payouts of a talcum powder lawsuit will be. Johnson & Johnson did payout $100,000,000 to settle a group of 1,000 cases.

Again, this works out to an average of about $100,000 per case. The value of a mass tort case rarely goes down with subsequent settlements. So the likely average talcum powder settlement amount for the remaining talc cancer lawsuits may be higher.


Who Is Eligible To File A Talcum Powder Cancer Claim?

In order to sue a manufacturer of talcum powder that you used and developed cancer, you need to meet the following requirements:

Talcum-based powder must have been used. The ongoing lawsuit surrounds Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower brands.

If possible, you should have received an ovarian cancer diagnosis sometime between 2000 and the present day. If possible, you should have biopsy results showing your cancer may have been related to baby powder.

If you were diagnosed with mesothelioma after using Johnson & Johnson’s talcum products, you might be eligible to file a claim.

What Damages Can I Seek From Injuries Related To J&J's Baby Powder?

Pursuing a claim against Johnson & Johnson for developing cancer because of asbestos in their baby powder products could result in compensating you for:

  • Physical pain, suffering, and distress
  • Mental and emotional anguish
  • Loss of happiness
  • Decreased life expectancy
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Lost job, income, and wages

If you are a surviving family member of a loved one who died from ovarian cancer or mesothelioma and it was the result of powder products containing talc, you may be able to file a wrongful death suit. These cases may involve compensation for both the suffering of your loved one and for the economic contribution he or she made to your household.

Can I Still File A Johnson & Johnson's Talcum Powder Lawsuit?

The deadline to file your talcum powder lawsuit has not passed. Talcum powder lawsuits are possible if you used talcum powder regularly for over one year and you developed ovarian cancer within the last three years (or the statute of limitations in your state).

The talcum powder lawsuits have been going on for a long time, and some cases have already been settled, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to file your own talc lawsuit.


Did You Use Talcum Powder For Feminine Hygiene Issues?

One factor in an individual’s exposure to talc powder may be whether or not they used products such as baby powder or body powder. It’s common practice to use this type of talc powder in intimate regions of the body, like the perineum. In reality, up until very recently, the chemical makeup of this very popular feminine hygiene product had traces of asbestos in it. For a long time, women would use it every day.

What Exactly Is Johnson & Johnson Being Sued For?

Many scientific studies have linked talc, the ingredient found in such products as Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower, as well as other Talcum Powder brands, to ovarian cancer in some women.

Johnson & Johnson has been sued by thousands of women who developed ovarian cancer after long-term talcum powder use, who allege that the company knew about the dangers of talc and failed to warn consumers.

Researchers have concluded that there is substantial evidence that exposure to talcum powder can lead to ovarian cancer. They attribute this to asbestos, a natural ingredient found in crushed talc. The American Cancer Society reports that nearly 20,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year due to asbestos in talcum powder. These statistics are alarming, given how prevalent ovarian cancer is in the country and its links to talcum powder. This year, nearly 13,000 women will succumb to it as well.


Were You Diagnosed With Any Other Diseases Due To Talcum Powder Exposure?

Most people that get a type of cancer called mesothelioma are exposed to asbestos in talc. You’ll need to show medical proof of your current state of health with a recent doctor’s visit to prove it.

When ovarian cancer is combined with mesothelioma, a lawyer may be able to link that directly to the talcum powder brands you’re claiming damages against.


Call us about your talcum powder case

Do you believe that you may have a viable talcum powder claim? Act quickly, and do not hesitate to reach out to a talcum powder attorney from our firm about a free no-obligation case review. Every state has a statute of limitations about how long you have to bring a lawsuit. Missing this deadline may mean losing your right to file a lawsuit.