Talcum Powder

The Link between Talcum Powder and Cancer

Talc is a naturally occurring mineral made up of magnesium, silicon, oxygen. Mined from the earth, talc is typically crushed into a powder and its silky-smooth consistency and absorbent qualities makes it an excellent product to use to smooth and soothe skin, prevent rashes, and absorb sweat and odor. It is the main ingredient in baby powder and can be found in several cosmetics (face powders, eyeshadows, blush, foundation), and personal products such as adult powder and deodorant. In our daily routines, we trust products like talcum powder to keep us feeling fresh and comfortable. However, talc can contain a hidden danger: asbestos. Talc and asbestos can be found in close proximity to each other, so when talc is mined, cross-contamination may occur. Furthermore, cross-contamination may occur if quality control is inadequate. When talc is crushed, milled and processed, asbestos fibers can become mixed with the talc if not carefully monitored. This contamination poses a serious health risk. Individuals who have used talcum powder for extended periods may be at risk of developing ovarian cancer, or mesothelioma.

Health Risks Associated with Asbestos-Contaminated Talc:

Ovarian Cancer
In 1894 Johnson & Johnson (J&J) introduced JOHNSON’S® baby powder to the market as part of the product line to Johnson’s Baby, which consisted of baby shampoos, lotions, baby wipes, oils, and shower gels. For over a century, J&J Baby Powder was the trusted product to treat diaper rash, but it was also advertised to be used as part of feminine hygiene routine, and for decades women used the powder to stay fresh and dry. Concerns about the safety of talc emerged when studies began to link talcum powder use to ovarian cancer.

In the 1970s, concern grew that women who used talcum powder around their genital area may be at higher risk for developing ovarian cancer than those who did not. A prospective analysis conducted investigated over 78,000 female registered nurses. Results of the study determined there does appear to be a modest increase in the risk of invasive serous ovarian cancer due to talcum powder exposure and use.

In 2018, A Missouri jury awarded $550 million in compensation and an astounding $4.7 billion in punitive damages to 22 women who claimed that their use of J&J talc products caused their ovarian cancer. J&J appealed, and a June 2020 verdict reduced the initial ruling  to $2.1 billion.

Asbestos exposure is also associated with other health problems, including pleural plaques, pleural thickening, and respiratory symptoms. Inhalation of asbestos fibers is the primary route of exposure, and it can lead to serious health issues such as mesothelioma. A rare and aggressive malignancy, mesothelioma is cancer affecting the lining that surrounds various organs and cavities within the body. Virtually all cases of malignant mesothelioma are attributable to asbestos exposure. Malignant mesothelioma may not become apparent until 20 to 30 years after the first exposure to asbestos but can be aggressive once it takes hold. Since the symptoms of mesothelioma are not unique to the disease a mesothelioma diagnosis can be difficult to determine. Talc-based products such as baby powder may be a source of asbestos exposure, but because of talc’s versatility and use in various industries such as cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, plastic, rubber, paint, ceramics, etc., asbestos exposure may occur in several ways.

Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Lawsuits

For the past few years, health giant J&J has been involved with thousands of lawsuits claiming its talc products can cause ovarian cancer and mesothelioma.

Internal documents from J&J show that the company knew about potential asbestos contaminants in its baby powder but did nothing to inform the public of such health risks. Talc itself is not a carcinogen, but it can be contaminated with asbestos, as those two minerals are often found near one another when mined. Talc mined is typically taken to a particle mill to have impurities and contaminates removed, but if not cared for properly, deadly asbestos particles could make their way into the finished product.

J&J denied these allegations, but investigative reports have found documents dating back to the 1950s that J&J talcum powder may have been contained with asbestos fibers. Testing in the 1960s found trace amount of tremolite (a type of asbestos) and in a 1969 memo it was declared “normal” to find asbestos in talc deposits in the U.S. 

Investigative reports exposed that J&J knew for decades their product could be contaminated with asbestos has led to numerous lawsuits and regulatory scrutiny. These concerns have prompted J&J to discontinue the sale of talc-based baby powder in some regions and reformulate their product with alternative ingredients. In 2019, J&J baby powder was removed from shelves and the US Department of Justice launched a criminal investigation to determine if the health giant purposely mislead consumers about asbestos fibers in its talcum powder. By October 2021, J&J was facing thousands of lawsuits and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Today, J&J faces over 38,000  lawsuits alleging its talc products contain asbestos and as of April 2023, J&J offered a $8.9 billion talcum powder lawsuit settlement. Plaintiffs have rejected this offer. Billons of dollars have already been awarded in talcum powder lawsuits.

While J&J is by far the biggest name involved in the talcum powder lawsuits, it’s not the only one. The following is a list of companies and their products associated with talcum powder lawsuits:

  1. Colgate- Palmolive Company – Cashmere Bouquet Talc
  2. Gold Bond – Body Powder
  3. Gold Bond – Extra Strength Body Powder
  4. Gold Bond – No Mess Powder Spray
  5. Imerys Talc America – Talc supplier to J&J
  6. Bausch Health Companies (f/k/a Valeant Pharmaceuticals) – Shower to Shower
  7. Vanderbuilt Minerals Raw Industrial Talc
  8. Whittaker, Clark & Daniels Raw Cosmetic Talc

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or ovarian cancer and believe your cancer was caused by asbestos-contaminated talcum powder, contact Goldberg, Persky, and White P.C. today. 

We can help determine if you qualify to file a talcum powder lawsuit and guide you through the litigation process. Plaintiffs have filed talcum powder lawsuits in all 50 states. With each state having their own statute of limitations, it’s important to file your case as soon as possible. Statutes can range from two to ten years depending on where the claim is filed. 

To file a talcum powder lawsuit for ovarian cancer, key parameters must be met:

  • Plaintiff should have history of daily use of talcum powder for four or more years
  • Diagnoses of ovarian cancer should have occurred after the year 2000
  • Plaintiff’s age range should fall between 22 and 65

For those suffering from mesothelioma, exposure to any asbestos-contaminated talc-based product could result in compensation on your behalf. This includes baby powder, cosmetics, or other industrial talc products such as paints, adhesives, rubber, ceramics, and more.

Family members of the deceased may be able to file on be-half of their loved ones in wrongful death claim.


  1. Dorota M. Gertig, et.al., “Prospective Study of Talc Use and Ovarian Cancer,” JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Volume 92, Issue 3, (February 2022). [Link]  
  2. Daniel W. Cramer, et. al. “The Association Between Talc Use and Ovarian Cancer,” National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) – PubMed Central (April 2016). [Link]
  3. “Johnson’s® Baby Powder, 1894,” Johnson and Johnson, Our Story. [Link]
  4. “Does Talcum Powder Cause Cancer?” City of Hope (Reviewed November 2021). [Link]
  5. “Ashton Letter and Reply – 1969.” (n.d.). DocumentCloud. [Link]
  6. Lisa Girion, “Johnson & Johnson Knew For Decades that Asbestos Lurked in its Baby Powder,” Reuters (December 2018). [Link]
  7. Michelle Llamas, BCPA “Talcum Powder Lawsuit Settlement,” Drugwatch (September 2023). [Link]
  8. Shelby Simon, “Talcum Powder Lawsuit Update October 2023,” Forbes (July 2023). [Link]
  9. “Johnson & Johnson to pay $4.7 Billion Damages in Talc Cancer Case,” BBC (July 2018). [Link]
  10. Ariane de Vogue, Jen Christensen, “Supreme Court Won’t Review $2 billion Verdict Against Johnson & Johnson in Talc Powder Case,” CNN (June 2021). [Link]


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