Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer

Bookmark and Share


Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer: A Known Risk with Over 40 Years of Research

Scientific studies detected an ovarian cancer baby powder link as early as 1971, and the finding has been substantiated in reports published by many peer-reviewed medical journals in the decades since. Safety advocates and doctors find it confounding that scientists have been aware of the talcum powder cancer connection for four decades, yet the FDA has never regulated the cosmetic use of talc. Left unregulated, the major talcum powder producer Johnson & Johnson has argued against the efficacy of the baby powder ovarian cancer link and has continued to manufacture and market dangerous talc baby powder products to women. American consumers have unknowingly been put at risk, say talcum powder cancer experts, while talc mining companies and baby powder manufacturers have yielded substantial profits off product sales.

Medical experts and consumer product safety advocates have rallied together on numerous occasions to petition the FDA for a formal talcum powder ovarian cancer warning. In each instance, the FDA has ignored or denied the citizen petitions, and product labels still have no baby powder cancer warning.

Dr. Samuel Epstein, who heads the Cancer Prevention Coalition and has been a leader in demanding the regulation of cosmetic talc, is vehement in asserting that the perineal dusting with baby powder causes ovarian cancer, contradictory to baby powder marketing by Johnson & Johnson. Perhaps only through making public the stories of women who have contracted the disease will a talcum powder ovarian cancer warning become mandatory.

Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer Science

Understanding the Science behind the Talcum Powder Ovarian Cancer Connection

Talc is a substance that is found in nature and is mined around the world. Containing magnesium, silicon and oxygen, talc has been widely used by women and on babies for decades for genital hygiene because of its remarkable ability to absorb moisture and prevent chafing and rashes. Talc is used in many other household, medical and industrial applications, talc is commonly found as a food additive, an anti-caking agent, a lubricant and an astringent. Luzenac America and its parent company Rio Tinto Materials are leading producers of talc, mining, crushing, drying and milling the substance for a wide array of applications, while Johnson & Johnson is the leading producer of talcum powder products such as baby powder and women's body powders and genital deodorant sprays. Talcum powders can also be introduced to the female reproductive system when used to dust diaphragms, tampons and sanitary pads. Either inserted into the vaginal or used externally, these products as well as direct perineal dusting of talcum powder can result in talc particles migrating through the female reproductive system until they reach the ovaries. The presence of talc in the ovaries increases a woman's risk of developing ovarian cancer. Talcum powder ovarian cancer researchers figure that approximately one in five American women applies talcum powder to her genitals routinely.

Multiple studies conducted over four decades have linked the presence of talc in the ovaries to a greater incidence of ovarian cancer. Researchers believe that talcum powder ovarian cancer develops because talc particles, which due to poor solubility can take years to break down, cause inflammation to develop. A condition of inflammation in the ovaries sets the stage for cell proliferation and damage to DNA, which can result in the development and proliferation of ovarian cancer cells. Studies have shown that women who use baby powder for perineal hygiene are at a risk 30% greater than other women for contracting ovarian cancer.

Baby Powder Ovarian Cancer Research Findings

The tendency for talc particles in the ovaries to result in ovarian cancer has been denied for decades by the cosmetic producer Johnson & Johnson, yet medical researchers have continued to add to the body of peer-reviewed research supporting the ovarian cancer baby powder link. The first study to detect a connection between talcum powder and cancer of the ovaries was made public in 1971, when researchers discovered talc particles upon studying the ovarian cellular tissues of women who had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Further research has been published in leading medical journals including Cancer, The Lancet, Oncology, The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The American Journal of Epidemiology, and Anticancer Research. The National Cancer Institute and the International Union Against Cancer have published similar findings.

A description of major baby powder ovarian cancer studies can be found here:

1970s An article on ovarian cancer caused by talcum powder in The Lancet warns, "The potentially harmful effects of talc . . . in the ovary . . . should not be ignored."

1992 The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology publishes a study which finds that regular (weekly) use of baby powder increases a woman's risk of developing ovarian cancer threefold.

1997 A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology affirms that perineal dusting of talcum powder contributes to the risk of cancer; it suggests talcum genital deodorant sprays contribute to cancer growth as well.

2003 A meta-analysis, which compiles and reviews data from 16 previous studies, is published in Anticancer Research. Based on research with nearly 12,000 women, the study concludes that perineal baby powder use is associated with a 33% increase in ovarian cancer risk.

2008 Harvard epidemiologist Dr. Margaret Gates reaffirms that weekly use of talcum powder for perineal dusting increases the risk of ovarian cancer by 33%. Dr. Gates also asserts that daily use of a product such as Johnson & Johnson's Shower to Shower talcum powder increases the risk of ovarian cancer by 41%.

2010 Dr. Gates, along with two other Harvard researchers, publishes a study in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention in which the role of talc particles in other endometrial cancer development was investigated. This study reinforces the notion that talc in baby powder is carcinogenic to humans.              

Talcum Powder Cancer Lawyers Provide Legal Representation for Women

Lawyers are handling talcum powder cancer lawsuits on behalf of women with ovarian cancer and their loved ones. These attorneys are seasoned experts in the area of family safety law and product liability litigation, and have a proven track record in representing the interests of individuals against large corporation. Should they find adequate legal grounds for a lawsuit, these baby powder cancer lawyers will apply their substantial resources to assure you get the compensation you and your family deserve. If you or a loved one was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and have a history of using talcum powder, a baby powder cancer attorney can help by answering your questions and giving you a sense of your legal options. Baby powder ovarian cancer lawyers expect cases throughout the country to join together in a Multi-District Litigation, rather than talcum powder class action lawsuit, ensuring individual cases will be considered on their own merit.

Baby Powder Ovarian Cancer Lawsuits

To learn if you have grounds for a talcum powder lawsuit, you may contact an attorney for a free baby powder cancer lawsuit consultation. If you or a family member was diagnosed with ovarian cancer have used talc-based baby powder or body powder, you may be entitled to compensation. These attorneys provide talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuit representation on a contingency basis, which means you will be charged nothing unless you are awarded compensation. A baby powder ovarian cancer class action lawsuit is unlikely; instead, cases are expected to join forces through the more effective means of a multi-district litigation (MDL).


Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer

As early as the 1970s, ovarian cancer experts have linked the routine use of baby powder for genital hygiene to an increased risk for contracting ovarian cancer. Putting any product that contains talc, including feminine body powders and talcum baby powders, on the genital area yields a 33% higher risk of cancer.

Learn more »

Baby Powder Ovarian Cancer Warnings

A wide variety of groups, ranging from cancer prevention organizations to states' health departments and even cosmetic industry representatives, have acknowledged the baby powder cancer link. Read the warnings links to numerous baby powder ovarian cancer warning statements.

Learn more »

Talcum Powder Ovarian Cancer Lawsuits

If you or a loved one has suffered from ovarian cancer and have a history of using talcum powder, you may be eligible to participate in a Talcum Powder Ovarian Cancer Lawsuit.  Talcum Powder Ovarian Cancer Lawsuits, which are NOT class action lawsuits, may ultimately prevent other women from suffering this tragedy.

Learn more »