Mining Company Faces Talcum Powder Cancer Lawsuit

Posted by JTB Law Group, LLC on Friday, October 7th, 2016

10-7-16-1The first talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuit was filed in the year 2009 against Johnson & Johnson by a South Dakota woman named Diane Berg. Since that event, the number of baby-powder related lawsuits against the personal care products giant has spiraled upwards to over 1,200. We are talking about a corporation that was once known as the most trusted brand in America. The company has already been ordered to pay damages in excess of $100 million to two victims of their product after juries concluded there was a link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. 

What’s worse for J&J is the fact that the barrage of lawsuits is unlikely to come to an end anytime soon. Even though J&J refused to acknowledge the link between its product and cancer, other companies responsible for producing talc-based products are also finding themselves in hot water as more people become aware of how dangerous talc can be.

Luzenac and Rio Tinto

Up until 2011, Luzenac America was a subsidiary of a multi-national corporation called Rio Tinto Minerals that happens to be one of the largest mining companies on the planet. Based in the United Kingdom and Australia, Rio Tinto has expanded its operations across all fields of mining from diamond mining to salt production. The Luzenac Group has its headquarters in France and still tops the chart of the world’s biggest talc producers. It operates talc mines in North America, Europe, Asia and South America.

Suppliers to Johnson & Johnson

Luzenac and Rio Tinto have both been named in talcum powder lawsuits on grounds of having supplied Johnson & Johnson with a type of talc that is known to elevate the risk of ovarian cancer. The court documents state that both mining companies and Johnson & Johnson refused to disclose the health risks associated with the use of the J&J product and did not inform consumers and end users about the particular danger of developing ovarian cancer, such as talcum-related epithelial ovarian cancer.

A History of Accusations

The lawsuits should not come as much of a surprise for Rio Tinto, a corporation that is no stranger to controversy. For a number of years, Rio Tinto has been vehemently criticized for damaging the environment through its mining operations that are unsustainable and far from eco-friendly. Some environmental experts believe that Rio Tinto is one of the biggest contributors to global warming and climate change in the private sector. In addition to its massive carbon footprint, the corporation has allegedly violated human and labor rights for a very long period of time, something that a lot of multinational mining companies have been accused of in the past.

Contradicting Science

Attorneys and representatives of all three companies claim that a “number of scientific and regulatory reviews” continue to claim that the kind of talc used in Johnson & Johnson products is completely safe for use. These claims are not in line with scientific evidence which suggests that the genital use of talcum powder has the potential to increase the risk of ovarian cancer from anywhere between 30 to 60%. Given this information, some doctors are surprised that talcum powder is still being marketed as a feminine hygiene product.

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