Talcum powder is a mineral widely used in various cosmetic products, adult body powders and facial powders, as well as many other consumer products. It is made from talc, which is a mineral containing the elements magnesium, silicon and oxygen. Talcum powder reduces friction and absorbs moisture, which helps prevent rashes and keeps the skin dry.
Some talc in its natural form may contain asbestos. Since the 1970s, talcum products manufactured for home-use have been free of asbestos, which is known to cause various forms of cancer in and around the lungs if inhaled. However, there is a possible link between talcum powder and cancer – specifically women who apply talcum powder on a regular basis to their genital areas are potentially at a higher risk for developing ovarian cancer.
According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization, the perianal or genital use of body powders that are talc-based are “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” This is based on limited evidence from studies on talcum powder use by humans and an increased risk of ovarian cancer.
According to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, the increased risk of ovarian cancer when using talcum powders has been seen in some, but not all, research studies. According to one study recently published in Cancer Prevention Research, there is a “small-to-moderate increases in risk of most histologic subtypes of epithelial ovarian cancer” for women who regularly use talcum powders on their genital area. This finding is the result of the examination of the data from thousands of women. The researchers did not find an increased risk when talcum powder was only used on other parts of a woman’s body.
The link between an increased risk for ovarian cancer and the use of talcum powder on a woman’s genital area has been established through research studies. The National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute funded a study about the increased risk. The researchers found that women who used talcum powder had an increased risk of between 36 percent and 41 percent for developing ovarian cancer.
The study above, which was conducted by Dr. Margaret A. Gates, advises women to immediately discontinue using talcum powders. This includes any feminine hygiene products that contain talc. No updated use instructions were recommended by the manufacturers of talc-based powders.
In 2006, a woman from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She sued Johnson & Johnson alleging that the talc contained in their powder products caused her ovarian cancer. A federal jury found that the talcum in the manufacturer’s powder products contributed to the woman’s cancer. In addition, the jury found that Johnson & Johnson did not warn consumers of the link between using powder products containing talc and ovarian cancer. The jury did not award monetary damages in the lawsuit and did not agree that products containing talc were defective without a label warning of the link between use of the product and ovarian cancer.
One of the medical experts who testified during the trial said that talc was “probably a contributing factor in 10,000 cases of ovarian cancer each year.” The medical expert, Harvard University’s Dr. Daniel Cramer, has studied the link between ovarian cancer and talcum powder for three decades.
There are many talc products that were affected by this particular lawsuit, including Johnson’s baby powder, Shower to Shower absorbent body powder and all other powder products containing talc.
If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and have regularly used powder products containing talc, you should contact an attorney with extensive experience in litigation. This will help ensure that you are evaluated properly by a qualified medical expert. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your diagnosis and treatment for ovarian cancer, you may be able to seek compensation for economic and non-economic damages from the manufacturer(s) of the talc-based powder product(s) you have used. Such financial compensation is sought through a personal injury lawsuit in civil court.
Because of the severity of ovarian cancer, it is highly recommended that you contact an attorney to help you in seeking compensation as soon as possible. The insight of such a professional can prove invaluable.
For those who have a lost a loved one because of ovarian cancer, compensation may also be sought on behalf of a loved one’s estate in many cases. This type of case would be a wrongful death lawsuit and would seek to hold people or entities accountable for your loved one’s death. An attorney can provide more information, advice and guidance on your legal options.
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