Possible asbestos in talc powder causes concern

December 20, 2018

The Canadian environment ministry has warned against using talcum power on genitals as it can cause ovarian cancer. If inhaled it can also cause respiratory problems like fibrosis.

The reports follows a string of lawsuits brought against Johnson & Johnson in the US relating to ovarian cancer since 2016.

22 women were awarded US$4.69 billion from the brand in July, as the court found asbestos infected talcum powder caused their ovarian cancer.

Environment and Climate Change Canada warned that talcum powder can cause ovarian cancer – four months after 22 women won US$4.7 billion from a talc manufacturer in court.

A report by the government agency voiced the concerns, including that some recent studies have consistently reported a positive association with ovarian cancer and talc exposure.

It cited 29 studies on the connection between ovarian cancer and baby powder, and said 21 of those found a possible, or positive relationship between the talc and the cancer.

The draft paper, which looked at baby, body, face, and foot talc powders, also said that inhaling talcum powder can be dangerous and should be avoided as it can cause respiratory problems like fibrosis or scarring of the lungs.

Talcum powder is made from talc, a naturally occurring mineral crystal, and is commonly known as baby powder.

Baby powder manufacturer Johnson & Johnson has faced several lawsuits over its talcum products, and has suffered financially.

In August 2017, a Los Angeles court ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay US$417 million to one women who said their talc caused ovarian cancer, and a St. Louis court awarded 22 women US$4.69 billion in damages from Johnson & Johnson in July, 2018 – the sixth-largest product-defect award in US history.

That decision is under appeal.

Companies in Canada don’t have to label their talc products with the cancer or respiratory risk yet, CTV said.

The Canadian Cancer Society has said talc causes a possible risk to developing ovarian cancer.

Since 1999, the American Cancer Society has recommended that women who regularly use baby powder in their genital area choose cornstarch-based baby powder instead of talc.

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Category: Features, Health alert

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