For decades, Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder has been a staple of the health and beauty industry. Countless people have used this branded talcum powder to absorb sweat, decrease friction and prevent painful rashes.
Unfortunately, despite its name implying that the product is safe to use even on a baby, it turns out that talcum powder may carry significant risks for those who use it frequently. In fact, talcum powder has led to many major financial claims in recent years.
Due to building scientific evidence about these risks and an increasing number of pending lawsuits from those potentially sickened by talcum baby powder, Johnson & Johnson has announced their intent to stop selling talcum powder mined in the United States as baby powder products.
What’s the issue with talcum powder anyway?
The idea that a natural product is somehow dangerous may seem strange to some people, but it has everything to do with how talcum exists in its mineral form. Deposits of talc are often in close proximity to deposits of asbestos, another naturally-occurring mineral with serious medical implications for humans.
Asbestos is associated with serious cancers, like mesothelioma and ovarian cancer. Careful mining practices and adequate laboratory testing for contamination would theoretically be sufficient to allow for the safe production of talcum powder.
Unfortunately, Johnson & Johnson has not included warnings in their labels about the potential for asbestos contamination in their products nor has it taken the necessary steps to completely avoid such contamination. After losing multiple lawsuits, the brand has decided to take a different approach to limiting their future liability by discontinuing their baby powder and many other products.
Pulling a product now won’t undo decades of harm
While the decision to remove potentially contaminated talc products from their lineup is a step in the right direction, it does not absolve Johnson & Johnson of the responsibility that it may have for the illnesses that long-term users could develop if they used contaminated talcum powder.
Those dealing with a cancer diagnosis possibly related to talcum powder or those who have lost a loved one to talcum-related cancer may have the option of taking civil action against the company responsible.