Talcum powders have been used — primarily for baby care and feminine hygiene purposes — for decades. Sold by big name companies like Johnson & Johnson, these products are marketed as safe and gentle, but medical research brings a different perspective. Rising ovarian cancer rates demonstrate a correlation with talc powder use. Research shows that using products like Johnson’s Baby Powder or Shower-to-Shower can raise ovarian cancer risk from 2% to 33%. If you’ve regularly used this product, or a similar product for feminine hygiene, your risk may be 16 times higher than women who have not.
So what makes these products dangerous? The ingredient talc has long been a topic of concern. Talc is a natural mineral that contains elements such as magnesium, silicon, oxygen, and hydrogen. Crushing talc creates a fine powder that is used in a variety of ways. You may have heard previous lawsuits regarding talc containing asbestos — a deadly mineral that can cause lung cancer. Since the 1970s, it has been illegal to sell talcum powder containing asbestos, but even in its purified form, risks seem to be present. Though powders are regularly used on babies’ bottom, the primary concern is women who used talc-based products in their genital area.
Many women wonder how a product used externally can cause ovarian cancer. Medical research found that when used for feminine hygiene, talc powder can migrate through the vagina into a woman’s ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes. When this dangerous ingredient accumulates inside the body over time, cells can be damaged and cancer can occur. Talc is often found in these tumors. Statistics from the CDC show that Caucasian women are at the greatest risk for ovarian cancer. However, African-American women have long been the target of talcum powder product marketing, increasing their risk.
You may be asking yourself how some of the most commonly used products on the market could be at the center of such controversy. Unfortunately, findings of these dangers are not brand new. In the early 1980s a report called out Johnson & Johnson for the talc in their products, claiming that women may be three times more likely to develop ovarian cancer after using products on their genitals. Over three decades later, research continued. Medical journal Cancer Prevention Research conducted a study in 2013 that found talcum powder users may have a 20-30% higher risk for ovarian cancer than women who do not use these products. It is estimated that over 10,000 cases of ovarian cancer can be attributed to talc annually.
Women and medical researchers alike have called for companies like Johnson & Johnson to remove talc from their products, or to better warn their consumers of these potential dangers. Little has been done. In fact, manufacturers continue to claim these products are safe and gentle for both babies and adults.
If you developed ovarian cancer and believe your case was a direct result of your talcum powder use, contact an attorney. You may be able to seek compensation through a talcum powder lawsuit. Our attorneys have decades of experience holding drug and product manufacturers accountable. Get started with a free consultation today.