Pharmaceutical

Talc ovarian cancer verdicts cause Indian consumers to exercise caution

talc bottles 314x210 Talc ovarian cancer verdicts cause Indian consumers to exercise cautionThe American verdicts against international pharmaceutical giant Johnson and Johnson has been raising awareness about the link between talc-based powders and ovarian cancer around the world. Last month, a California jury ordered the company to pay $417 million in damages over its failure to warn consumers of its products’ ovarian cancer risk. Previously four Missouri juries found in favor of the women who had brought suit against Johnson and Johnson, with verdicts totaling more than $300 million:

Best Media Info, in an article on brands that have lost consumer trust, said of Johnson and Johnson in a discussion of the Los Angeles verdict, “…its brand image has taken quite a hit. It is not just in the U.S. that the brand is facing a tough time. Johnson & Johnson used to enjoy a market share of about 80 per cent in the year 2008 in the baby care segment in India and today the brand holds over 50 per cent of that market. The difference is huge and this is despite the brand investing huge monies in marketing.”

In light of these verdicts, Pune Mirror, an Indian news source, ran an article warning its readers about the dangers of talc products and then asking pediatricians to give advice about other baby products that parents might not have been aware could be harmful to their child. They warn their readers to look carefully at labels and read the fine print, which is necessary when companies such as Johnson and Johnson refuse to put a warning label on products with known risks.

“When it comes to babies, every parent wants to give them nothing but the best. Although we look for top brands while shopping for our child’s needs, what we should really be looking for may be listed in fine print on the labels of these products. Who would have thought that talcum powder, a product we’ve been using on babies’ bottoms for years, could be linked to ovarian cancer?” Pune Mirror reports.

The news source says what many other shocked consumers have been thinking. Even Marvin Salter, the son of the first Missouri plaintiff who died before her case went to trial, is quoted by Bloomberg as saying “We both were a bit skeptical at first,”It has to be safe. It’s put on babies. It’s been around forever. Why haven’t we heard about any ill effects?”

Now, because of these lawsuits, consumers around the world are hearing about the decades of research surrounding the link between genital talc use and ovarian cancer. Some are also realizing for the first time that the medical community warns against using baby powder on children because of inhalation risks.

Other products mentioned by Pune Mirror include plastic bottles and latex rubber nipples. Heated plastic bottles can release Bisphenol A, which may be disruptive to the baby’s hormone balance and endocrine system. Glass bottles are recommended. Latex rubber nipples can release nitrosamines, many of which are known carcinogens. Latex also is more likely than silicone nipples to break down and create cracks for bacteria to hide.

Parents are advised to choose baby lotions that are free of Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) and Polypropylene Glycol (PPG), chemicals that cause skin sensitivity and are linked to cancer risk with prolonged use. Another cancer-causing toxin that Pune Mirror warns readers about might be found in baby diapers and baby wipes as a byproduct of chlorine bleaching. Dioxin is also linked to reproductive, developmental, immune system and hormone problems. Lastly, chemicals in baby diapers are linked to allergies, cancer, acute respiratory disorders and brain damage and use of disposable diapers should be minimized, according to the experts’ opinions.

Sources:
Pune Mirror
Best Media Info
Righting Injustice
Bloomberg