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Lawsuits call attention to potential new carcinogen (2)

Earlier this week, we wrote a blog post on the potentially-carcinogenic effect of talc, short for talcum powder, an additive that is found in baby power, makeup and a variety of other cosmetic, beauty and health products.

It appears well known that talc increases its users' cancer risk, with a recent report stating that the product is "closely related to the potent carcinogen asbestos." And yet there has been little done at a national level to warn users of this danger or to remove it from the market. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration states that it has not been able to conclusively determine whether talc is, in fact, toxic. As such, there has been no definitive ruling made on talc's potential danger, and it continues to be manufactured and sold with no government regulation.

If this continues to be the case, we will likely see an influx of talc-related lawsuits in state and federal courts in the coming months and years. Such cases have already been filed in at least three states.

In one suit, the plaintiff claims that she used talc-based body powders manufactured and sold by Johnson& Johnson, and that she contracted ovarian cancer as a result. In another, the plaintiffs are accusing the chemical company BASF of lying about the potential carcinogens in its talc products. Both of those suits are in the beginning stages.

In a third lawsuit, the plaintiff claims that she used talc powder manufactured by Colgate-Palmolive for 20 years, and that she has contracted cancer as a result of her talc use. The judge in that case overruled Colgate-Palmolive's motion to dismiss the suit, which means that it could result in a definitive ruling on whether companies can be held liable for their consumers' talc use and resulting ailments.

We will continue to update our blog with any new developments in the talc cases.

Source: The Huffington Post, "A Puff, Poof or Dab of Danger," Indie Lee, Nov. 6, 2012

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