Johnson & Johnson, manufacturers of the iconic Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder are facing tens of thousands of lawsuits over their product. The litigants each claim that lifetime use of the talc product has led to the development of ovarian cancer. Some litigants blame the talc powder for mesothelioma. Reuters recently reported that internal documents at the company reveal they may have been aware that the talc was contaminated with asbestos. The U.S. Justice Department is even looking into these claims. Johnson & Johnson is cooperating with the investigation. Yahoo reports on just how concerned you need to be.
The Reuters investigations allege that testing over the past two decades of the company’s talc products turned up positive for small amounts of asbestos as early as 1957. The investigation further alleges the company kept the asbestos contamination from the public.
Johnson and Johnson deny the results of the studies, stating that the samples they took were from mines that were producing industrial, and not cosmetic, talc products.
Scientists were previously skeptical that talc products could be linked to cancer, but the presence of asbestos, a known carcinogen, could change that. Because the talc in talcum powder is a mineral, it could be naturally contaminated with asbestos.
A nurse’s health study that looked at over 78,000 women who used talc-containing products examined their risk for invasive ovarian cancers. There was a small increase in the risk of cancer among talc users, but there was no clear dose-response relationship. In other words, this meant that women who used talc more often were not shown to be more likely to develop cancer than women who used it less frequently.
The FDA did confirm that it is looking into the allegations of asbestos contamination as well as the link between talcum powder and cancer.
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