The American Cancer Society declares on its website that talcum powder-based products have been asbestos-free since the 1970s. Johnson & Johnson, one of the major manufacturers of such products, is equally vocal about claiming that its well-known talc-based baby powder does not, and never has, contained asbestos. Juries hearing claims to the contrary continue to cast doubt the industry position.
The latest reflection of this came in mid-July with a panel in Missouri ordering Johnson & Johnson to pay nearly $4.7 billion in compensatory and punitive damages to a group of 22 women. The women alleged that baby powder and other J&J talc-based products did contain asbestos and caused them to contract ovarian cancer. Johnson & Johnson vows to appeal the case. Meanwhile, the company is named in thousands of additional actions claiming talc-related cancer and they continue to work their way through the courts.
Many can and do propose the argument that there is no solid scientific evidence that there is any link between talc and ovarian cancer. But the fact remains that, in its natural state, asbestos appears in talc. And asbestos is known to cause cancer.