Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer
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Talcum Powder & Ovarian Cancer
Talc, a mineral substance made up of various elements including magnesium, silicon, and oxygen, has long been marketed as “baby powder” or “talcum powder” and is a component in many other common household products.
In 2006, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified talcum powder as a possible human carcinogen. The possible link between talc and ovarian cancer dates back as far as the 1960s. In the early 1970s researchers discovered particles of talc embedded in ovarian and cervical tumors
Several recent studies have linked the use of powder with talc for feminine hygiene to an increased risk of ovarian cancer.
- A 2003 meta-analysis found an elevated risk of ovarian cancer of as much as 33% for women who routinely use “baby powder” perineally, on underwear, or on sanitary napkins.
- As many as 2,200 cases of ovarian cancer diagnosed each year may have been caused by frequent use of talcum powder.
- One observational study published earlier this year found that, among African–American women, such use of talcum powder is linked with a 44% increased risk for invasive epithelial ovarian cancer. This is particularly concerning in that Reuters has reported that a 2015 study suggests that black women use talcum powder at a higher rate (44%) than white women (30%) and Hispanic women (29%).
**The exact magnitude of the risk continues to be studied. Since these products are unnecessary, however, women in particular would be well-advised to avoid them. According to clinical evidence, elimination of talc use could protect more than one-quarter of women who develop ovarian cancer.
The particles that make up talcum powder are extremely fine. Studies have shown that talc particles can move into the peritoneal cavity, where the ovaries are. The suspected mechanism is that the particles can cause inflammation, which is believed to play an important role in the development of ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is one of the most deadly forms of cancer.
- Thousands of women have filed lawsuits to date against Johnson & Johnson, which claims its baby powder is safe. Johnson & Johnson says that the research linking talcum powder to an increased cancer risk is flawed. According to Johnson & Johnson, “few ingredients have the same demonstrated performance, mildness and safety profile as cosmetic talc.” Johnson & Johnson has not recalled any of its talc-containing products and continues to refuse to add a warning about this risk.
- The company also says its plans to appeal two recent multimillion-dollar jury awards in product liability lawsuits involving its powder. Both cases involved tissue samples that confirmed the presence of talc in the tumors. Both cases also involved women who had used Johnson & Johnson powder (e.g. “Shower to Shower”) with talc for feminine hygiene over a significant time period. And both juries heard evidence that Johnson & Johnson has known of the risk its talcum powder products posed to consumers for decades but consciously chose not to warn the public.
The website Change.org has a petition asking the CEO of Johnson & Johnson to release internal documents showing the link between talcum powder and cancer that, to date, only jurors, lawyers, and Johnson & Johnson have seen.
Women diagnosed with ovarian cancer who have regularly used Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products should consider speaking with an experienced Connecticut product liability lawyer. RisCassi & Davis can evaluate potential claims and determine if compensation from Johnson & Johnson is feasible.
Please contact us today if we can help you with your case. You may call our office at 800.344.5297 or contact us using the form on our website.
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