Talcum Powder and Cancer

Recently, a connection between ovarian cancer and talcum powder used for intimate personal hygiene was scientifically established. Ovarian cancer, often called the silent killer, strikes more than 20,000 women in the U.S. every year and is the deadliest of all gynecologic cancers. The Cancer Prevention Society has been warning about the minute fibers of talc for years, which it says are similar to asbestos.

Concerns regarding the potential link between the use of talcum powder and baby powder (made with talc) by women and ovarian cancer have been around for over 40 years. In 1971, the first scientific study was published that raised concerns over this issue. Unfortunately, the manufacturers profiting from the production of talcum and baby powder, such as Johnson & Johnson, have failed to place warning labels on these products.

When talcum powder (or feminine products containing talc) is applied to the genital area, or inadvertently reaches the genital area, tiny talc particles can enter a woman’s reproductive system and move to the ovaries. This is thought to create inflammation that creates an environment conducive to the growth of cancer cells, which in turn can lead to ovarian cancer.

Legal cases involving the link between ovarian cancer and talcum powder are increasing. In October of 2013, a federal jury concluded that the plaintiff had developed cancer of the ovaries as a result of continued use of two Johnson & Johnson talcum-based powder products: Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower. During the trial, Dr. Daniel Cramer of Harvard University told the jury that he believed talc was a contributing factor in an estimated 10,000 cases of ovarian cancer each year. He has been studying the association between talc and cancer for over 30 years.

Other scientific studies agree that there is an increased risk:

  1. A Harvard University study says women who use talcum powder even once a week are at a greater risk—36%–of contracting ovarian cancer. For daily use, the risk is higher, estimated around 41 percent.
  2. An article written by researchers from Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston was published in Cancer Prevention Research, a medical journal based on scientific research. It revealed that regular powder application following a shower or bath represents a 24% higher risk of developing an ovarian tumor.
  3. In the 1970s the link between ovarian cancer and baby powder was already being researched.
  4. In 2003, the medical journal Anticancer Research published an article that analyzed at least 10 similar studies on the subject. Based on these studies, it concluded the risk for ovarian cancer for women who used talcum powder in the pelvic area was 33% greater.
  5. A 2007 article written by the Australian Ovarian Cancer Study Group declared a statistically significant increase in the risk for ovarian cancer due to the use of talc in the pelvic region; this was published in the International Journal of Cancer.

If you or someone you love has developed ovarian tumors or cancer and has been using talcum powder in the pelvic area for many years, a skilled product liability attorney would like to investigate your case to see if you are a victim of the manufacturers’ failure to notify women of this risk. Contact us for a free consultation to see if you have a case. If you do, we will not charge you any fees unless you receive a settlement.

Unfair exposure to known toxins should not be a part of our society. Tragically, it is. Don’t be a victim: speak up for yourself or your loved one—and don’t let big pharmaceutical companies like Johnson & Johnson continue to put women’s lives at risk.