Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer
What is Talcum Powder?
Talc is a mineral containing magnesium and silicon that is mined, crushed, dried, and milled into commonly used talcum powder. As the softest mineral in the world, talc is used in products ranging from eye shadow to chewing gum to baby powder.
Women are talcum powder’s primary consumers and use the moisture-absorbent product to prevent chafing or to keep sanitary pads and underwear dry.
Link Between Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer
Scientists discovered a possible link between talcum powder use and ovarian cancer as early as 1971. The first study, published in March 1971, found talc particles nested in ovarian and cervical tumor tissue.
Subsequent studies through the ‘80s and ‘90s found statistical evidence pointing toward the same conclusion: talc could be a carcinogen (a cancer-causing product). Additional studies have found that long-term use increases a woman’s risk for ovarian cancer from 1 in 70 to 1 in 53.
Why is There No Ovarian Cancer Warning on Talcum Powder Labels?
The Cancer Prevention Coalition petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for talc warning labels in 1994 and 2008, but baby powder is classified as a cosmetic, so it doesn’t actually have to be approved by the FDA.
Still, talc suppliers like Imerys Talc America, Inc., the supplier for Johnson & Johnson, added labels in 2006 that warned that use of talcum powder in the perineum (genital area) could possibly cause ovarian cancer. This coincided with the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) statement that perineal (genital) use of talcum powder is “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
But while some talc suppliers embraced warning labels in 2006, their clients didn’t feel the need to put the same warning labels on their own products. Johnson & Johnson did not add labels to its talcum powders, even its widely sold Shower to Shower powder.
Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer Lawsuits
One of the first lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson resulted in a $72 million award to the family of Jackie Fox, who died of ovarian cancer in October 2015 after 30 years of using Shower to Shower. Now, thousands of women are coming forward to file suit against Johnson & Johnson.
The science on the talcum powder and ovarian cancer link hasn’t been completely proven. It is difficult to show beyond a doubt that one person’s cancer was caused by one specific product. Some studies have been unable to find a substantial link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. There is a reason the IARC only calls talcum powder “possibly” carcinogenic.
About Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer has a five-year survival rate of less than half (only 45 percent). Possible symptoms for ovarian cancer range from continuous abdominal bloating to low energy to pressure in the lower back or hips.
Women who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using talcum powder long-term have had to endure surgery and chemotherapy. They’ve lost time at work and possible income. More importantly, they’ve lost their health and peace of mind.
If you or a loved one developed ovarian cancer after using talcum powder you may be able to file a talcum powder lawsuit. If successful, a lawsuit can help recover financial compensation for medical expenses, other expenses and pain and suffering caused by ovarian cancer.