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Rio Tinto Minerals Inc are the latest to be hit with a lawsuit over cancer allegations against Johnson & Johnson.

It was discovered that Rio Tinto subsidiary mined the “talc at issue”, which was then used in Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower.

The plaintiffs from Louisiana in the US, are four woman who have ovarian cancer, and a husband of a woman who has since passed away.

Court documents suggest that each of these women used the products during 2011 and 2015, which lead to their cancer diagnoses.

Similarly, Johnson & Johnson have already paid out two women from Missouri in the US, who claimed that the talc used in this company’s products lead them to be diagnosed with terminal cancer. The court ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay these women a total of $172million in damages.

There are more than 1000 cases brought against Johnson & Johnson over links between its talcum powder products and ovarian cancer.

The court documents state that all three companies “failed to inform its customers and end users of its products of a known catastrophic health hazard associated with the use of its products”.

“All of the defendants have been aware for nearly forty years of independent scientific studies linking the use of their products to the increased risk of ovarian cancer in women when used in the perineal area,” the documents state.

“Luzenac America Inc and Rio Tinto Minerals Inc supply customers with materials safety data sheets for talc.”

“These material safety data sheets are supposed to convey adequate health and warning information.”

A spokeswoman for Johnson & Johnson told Fairfax Media that “multiple scientific and regulatory reviews have determined that talc is safe for use in cosmetic products and the labelling on Johnson’s Baby Powder is appropriate”.

Earlier this year a jury awarded $72m (aust $100m) to the family of Jackie Fox of Birmingham, Alabama, who died from ovarian cancer. Read her story here.

Then in May this year a jury awarded $55 million ($72m au) in damages to Gloria Ristesund, who used Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder for more than 35 years before being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2011. Read her story here.

An Australian researcher has said ‘Women should not be concerned’ – UNSW medical researcher, and Cancer Council Australia scientific adviser, Professor Bernard Stewart told SBS News there was still no definitive link between using baby powder and developing ovarian cancer.

Johnson & Johnson, who first introduced talcum powder in 1894, have strongly rejected the link between their product and cancer.

JOHNSON’s have said their talc products do not contain asbestos. A frequent misperception is that JOHNSON’s Baby Powder contains talc made with asbestos, a substance classified as cancer-causing. We use only U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) grade talc to ensure it meets the highest quality, purity and compliance standards.

The talc used in all our global production is carefully selected and processed to be asbestos-free, which is confirmed by regular testing conducted since the 1970s.
•The safety of talc is based on a long history of safe use and more than 30 years of research by independent researchers, scientific review boards and global authorities.

•Talc is approved as safe for use in cosmetic and personal care products by the European Union, Canada and many other countries around the world, among them Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Israel, South Africa, Turkey and Indonesia.  The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC), which identifies potential risk factors for many diseases, has not identified talc as a risk factor for ovarian cancer.

•Since the early 1990s, many research papers and epidemiology studies have evaluated talc and perineal use and these studies have found talc to be safe. In fact, the Nurses’ Health Study (2010) and the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Cohort (2014), the only two large-scale prospective studies looking at talc and ovarian cancer, found no causal relationship between talc and ovarian cancer.

Johnson and Johnson have a safety commitment to their customers, “Your safety is our priority. That’s why our safety assurance process exceeds industry and regulatory standards for baby and beauty personal care products. It’s a process that never ends–we continually review our product ingredients against the latest research and consumer feedback. We believe our process is among the most rigorous in the world and is at the core of our Safety & Care Commitment.

Our Safety & Care Commitment reflects our company’s unique focus on creating products that our consumers can trust. We’ve maintained this trust for more than 100 years with millions of consumers.”

Share your comments below.

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  • With the amount of causes for cancer that are known, we could spend our whole lives avoiding this and that, not using this or consuming that. Fair enough if you can just do something else instead without any hassle (use a different brand of talc powder) but if it starts disrupting your life, is it worth it? I’m not going to worry about this.

    Reply

  • Reading this story I would rather not use these products, even though an Australian researcher has said ‘Women should not be concerned’ – and UNSW medical researcher, and Cancer Council Australia scientific adviser, Professor Bernard Stewart told SBS News there was still no definitive link between using baby powder and developing ovarian cancer. When there have been such a payouts to families lately, then there must be a certainty of truth in the story.

    Reply

  • I am amazed at these huge payouts when I think there is insufficient proof. People have been using J&J talc for years, especially with babies. With a baby’s sensitive skin, you’d think that there would be problems if these claims were half true.

    Reply

  • I have also seen talcum powder in a container which is labelled aluminium free.
    Has Aluminium been used in talcum powders?? Aluminium is not made from asbestos.

    Reply

  • I don’t understand why the courts have handed out huge payouts when there is no definite link that the powder causes illness. There should definitely be more research done into this product.

    Reply

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