Talcum Powder Under Fire
For decades, talcum powder was thought of as a benign, gentle product. Unfortunately, that no longer seems to be the case. The substance has also been linked to ovarian cancer in women who used baby powder and other talc-based products for feminine hygiene.
Second Johnson & Johnson Trial Proceeding
The link between talcum powder and cancer has been under the spotlight ever since the family of an Alabama woman who died from ovarian cancer was awarded $72 million by a Missouri jury in February. The woman filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, alleging that she used the company’s baby powder and Shower-to-Shower products for more than three decades and developed cancer as a result.
Now, a second talcum powder lawsuit against the pharmaceutical giant is proceeding in a Missouri court. Approximately 1,000 other cases are pending in Missouri, and about 200 others are pending in New Jersey. This second case involves a woman who said she used Johnson & Johnson talc-based products for 40 years before she was diagnosed in 2011 with ovarian cancer.
She is alleging that the company knew talcum powder posed a risk of cancer for decades, yet withheld that information in order to protect sales of their extremely popular products. She is also claiming that Johnson & Johnson marketed talc-based products specifically to Hispanic and African-American women even though the company knew talc is not safe.
FDA Urges Medical Gloves Powdered with Talc, Other Materials Be Banned
In addition, on March 21, the Food and Drug administration announced it is proposing a ban on gloves powdered with talc and other substances, saying they pose risks to not only patients, but also doctors and other medical personnel.
Healthcare systems were already phasing out the use of powdered gloves well before the FDA made its announcement. For instance, the Medscape website reports that Johns Hopkins Medicine and the Cleveland Clinic have already either restricted the use of powdered gloves or eliminated them entirely. Many other medical groups have called for a ban, including the American College of Surgeons and the American Nurses Association. The Centers for Disease Control also supports a ban.