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North American litigation is being advanced against Johnson & Johnson Inc. related to the link between regular use of talcum-based baby powder and certain cancers, including ovarian cancer.

Siskinds LLP is representing individuals in Canada who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, fallopian tube cancer, primary peritoneal cancer, or mesothelioma after regular use of talc powder products.

What is Talcum?

Talcum, also referred to as talc, is a naturally occurring mineral known as the "softest mineral on earth". In its powder form, it absorbs moisture and reduces friction. Starting in 1886, talcum powder has been marketed to women, first as a product for their child's diaper rash, and later for feminine personal hygiene purposes. Talcum powder is often used by women through direct application to the genital area, known as the perineum, or indirectly by applying it to feminine hygiene products such as pads and tampons.

In its natural form, talc may be found in close proximity to asbestos at mining sites. Asbestos is a well-known carcinogen commonly associated with mesothelioma. When asbestos and talc are mined together, contamination is likely and complete removal of asbestos fibres from contaminated talc is impossible.[1]

Talcum Baby Powder and Ovarian Cancer

While asbestos-contaminated talc is a generally accepted cause of cancer, studies have also suggested that "pure" talc may increase the risk of ovarian cancer.[2] It is believed that talc particles travel through the vagina into the upper reproductive tract where they embed into the tissue, taking years to dissolve. The presence of talc particles in the ovaries and fallopian tubes causes inflammation, a favourable condition for cancer growth.

In 2010, the International Agency for Research on Cancer ("IARC"), a part of the World Health Organization, classified perineal use of talc-based body power, which was considered asbestos free for the purposes of the study, as possibly carcinogenic to humans.[3] The IARC has also concluded that there is a clearly established causal association between asbestos exposure and ovarian cancer.[4] Current lawsuits allege that talc use on the perineum is associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer. It is further alleged that Talc suppliers and manufacturers were aware of this associated risk and failed to warn consumers.

In May 2020, Johnson & Johnson announced that they would stop selling talc-based baby powder in the United States and Canada.[5] In 2021, Health Canada announced after an exhaustive study that "pure" talc may be harmful to human health, specifically perineal use of talc-based products and recommended restrictions on talc sales in Canada. [6]

Common Talc-based Products

Siskinds is currently representing individuals who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, fallopian tube cancer, primary peritoneal cancer, or mesothelioma after regular use of talc-based products on the perineum. Johnson & Johnson talc-based feminine hygiene products include:

  • baby powder;
  • shower-to-shower
  • body powder
  • genital deodorants and antiperspirants
  • dusting powder for women.

The above examples include only Johnson & Johnson talc-based products. Similar products made with corn-starch are not being considered at this time.

We’re here to help

If you, or a loved one, used Johnson & Johnson's talc-based hygiene products and suffer from ovarian cancer, fallopian tube cancer, primary peritoneal cancer, or mesothelioma, Siskinds may be able to help. Contact us by email: [email protected]or call us toll-free at 1.866.428.0094 to review whether your cancer may have been contributed to talc use and determine if you are eligible to bring an action for compensation.

[1] https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/johnsonandjohnson-cancer/

[2] https://www.drugwatch.com/talcum-powder/ovarian-cancer/

[3] https://www.drugwatch.com/talcum-powder/ovarian-cancer/

[4] https://publications.iarc.fr/Book-And-Report-Series/Iarc-Monographs-On-The-Identification-Of-Carcinogenic-Hazards-To-Humans/Arsenic-Metals-Fibres-And-Dusts-2012

[5] https://www.jnj.com/our-company/johnson-johnson-consumer-health-announces-discontinuation-of-talc-based-johnsons-baby-powder-in-u-s-and-canada

[6] https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/news/2021/04/government-of-canada-assessment-concludes-that-talc-may-be-harmful-to-human-health.html

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