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Health Canada Restricts Talc in Consumer Products

Metzger Wickersham
Health Canada Restricts Talc in Consumer Products

Health Canada has announced that the country will likely soon put legal restrictions on talcum powder products sold in the country. The announcement comes after Health Canada reviewed numerous studies and complaints about talcum powder products like Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder being linked to lung damage and ovarian cancer in thousands of lawsuits.

Sometimes colloquially referred to as the Canadian Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Health Canada officially recognized the risk of inhaling loose talcum powder or using it for feminine hygiene purposes. Johnson & Johnson has been advertising talc products as harmless feminine hygiene products for decades. Although, some lawsuits brought against the company have contested that it knew of the cancer risks for many years but did nothing to address it.

Talc is likely to be moved to the official toxic substances list used by the Canadian government. It has already put warnings on talcum powder baby products about not allowing a child to inhale the loose particles.

Why is Talcum Powder Dangerous?

Talc is a naturally occurring mineral that is mined due to its soft feel, especially when powdered. However, asbestos is usually found alongside talc. While mining and manufacturing talc, finite yet dangerous amounts of asbestos fibers can get mixed into the powder product, which is what causes lung damage and ovarian cancer, not necessarily the talc itself.

What Will the FDA Do About Talc?

With Health Canada officially announcing that talcum powder products can be dangerous when used under normal and advertised conditions, it is expected that more government agencies around the globe will make moves to do the same. The FDA has already studied talc products and their links to ovarian cancer and lung damage. A year-long study found detectable traces of asbestos in 9-of-52 products, but it was unable to strictly conclude that the other products did not contain any asbestos.

The FDA has not created any restrictions on talc products in the U.S. because it does not have the same regulatory authority as Health Canada does in Canada. Health and product safety groups are hopeful that Health Canada’s findings and mandate could spur the FDA, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and other related American agencies to take action.

In light of Health Canada’s mandate to restrict talcum powder products for sale off Canadian shelves, there might be new or expanded opportunities to file talc injury claims or mass torts across the border. If you live in Pennsylvania and have questions about talc lawsuits, please contact the attorneys of Metzger Wickersham today.

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