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Talcum Powder

Johnson & Johnson (“J & J”) Baby Powder or Shower-To-Shower products have been a staple in many households for as long as most of us can remember. The baby powder was used on infants and was also marketed to adults who often found it helped them feel fresh and clean. The public became accustomed to this type of product, without considering if there was any risk associated with it. The thought may have been that if it was so abundant and promoted as safe to use on babies, it did not raise alerts within the general population that it was not also safe for use as adults, as well.

More than 100 years ago, Johnson & Johnson began selling Baby Powder. J&J’s director of scientific affairs first invented a scented powder that was originally labeled “for toilet and nursery”. Apparently, at that time the idea was adding perfume to Italian talcum and market it together with sanitary napkins to midwives and mothers following childbirth. In the early 1900’s, J & J’s advertising attempted to persuade women to use the powder not only on their babies, but on themselves, as noted in an early 20th century marketing tag line, “Best for Baby, Best for You.” J & J’s Baby Powder became so common that may people associate its scent as that of the newborn babies themselves.

Talcum powder is made from talc, a soft mineral that is usually mined from deposits above the ground in a number of countries. Talc is mainly comprised of elements including magnesium, silicone and oxygen and, as a powder, it tends to absorb moisture and reduce friction, which can make it useful for keeping skin dry and helping to prevent rashes.

In the 1970’s, studies began to be published that first raised the possibility that talcum powder could pose a risk. As studies continued into the early 1980’s, statistical links began to be seen among those using talc in their genital area, with an increased risk of ovarian cancer. Yet, no warnings were placed on the J & J Baby Powder products of this potential risk of ovarian cancer.

Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C. is evaluating potential cases for women that have used talcum powder regularly for a period of four years or more who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. We also are considering potential cases for those diagnosed with fallopian tube cancer.

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