June 15, 2024

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Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $18.8 million:  Does Talc Powder Cause Cancer?

Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $18.8 million:  Does Talc Powder Cause Cancer?


Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $18.8 million:  Does Talc Powder Cause Cancer? 


On July 18th, an American jury ruled that Johnson & Johnson must pay $18.8 million to a man from California who claimed to have developed cancer due to exposure to Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder.

This is a setback for the company, as it is currently attempting to resolve tens of thousands of similar cases related to its baby powder products in the United States bankruptcy court.


The plaintiff in this case is Emory Hernandez Valadez, who filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson in an Oakland, California state court last year seeking compensation for his losses.

Hernandez, who is 24 years old, stated that he developed a deadly cancer called mesothelioma in the tissues surrounding his heart due to significant exposure to the company’s talc-containing products from a young age.

This six-week trial marks the first jury trial Johnson & Johnson has faced regarding its baby powder products in the past two years.



Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $18.8 million:  Does Talc Powder Cause Cancer? 



What is the talcum powder?

Talc powder is an industrial product, which is a magnesium silicate mineral, and its main component is hydrous magnesium silicate.

After being crushed, it is treated with hydrochloric acid, washed with water, and dried.


Talc powder has excellent physical and chemical properties such as lubricity, fire resistance, acid resistance, insulation, high melting point, and chemical inactivity, so it is widely used in industrial production methods such as coatings, plastics, rubber, and ceramics.

At the same time, because It has good hiding power, softness, good gloss and strong adsorption, and is also used in cosmetics manufacturing. Food-grade talc is also used as an additive in the pharmaceutical and food industries.


In addition to the body powder in the center of the storm, talcum powder is often added to common powder cosmetics such as eye shadow, blush, contouring, and loose powder, as well as some facial cleansers, body lotions, and sunscreens.

With the fermentation of the Johnson & Johnson incident, many large cosmetics brands have also announced the abandonment of talcum powder.





Does Talc Powder Cause Cancer? 


Looking back at the reason why Johnson & Johnson was fined: its talcum powder products were contaminated with asbestos and caused cancer in consumers.

To explain in detail: there is a risk of cross-contamination between talc and asbestos during the mining process, and asbestos fiber is a strong carcinogen that can cause diseases such as asbestosis and pleural mesothelioma.

When used near the perineum, because female reproductive organs communicate with the outside world, fine talcum powder particles and asbestos fibers can easily enter the abdominal cavity through the vulva and attach to the surface of the ovary, which will stimulate the proliferation of ovarian epithelial cells and induce ovarian cancer .


Take a look at the most commonly used and most important carcinogen grading standard in the world: the list of carcinogens issued by the World Health Organization, which divides carcinogens into four grades and five categories, namely:

  • Category 1: Confirmed to be carcinogenic to humans
  • Class 2A: Probable carcinogenic to humans, confirmed carcinogenic to animals
  • Category 2B: Possibly carcinogenic to humans and possibly carcinogenic to animals
  • Category 3: Suspected carcinogenicity to humans, no sufficient human or animal data
  • Category 4: Probably not carcinogenic to humans, currently considered non-carcinogenic to humans


Among them, it is worth noting that “asbestos” and “talcum powder containing asbestos fibers” are carcinogenicity category 1, while “talc powder without asbestos or asbestos fibers” is carcinogenicity category 3.

That is to say, talcum powder may cause cancer regardless of whether it contains asbestos or not.

There are also medical studies showing that talcum powder enters the lungs through the respiratory tract, which may increase the risk of lung cancer.





Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $18.8 million:  Does Talc Powder Cause Cancer? 

(source:internet, reference only)

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