Research suggests that talc-based products used for feminine hygiene purposes can lead to an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer. Harvard epidemiologist Dr. Daniel Cramer has stated that as many as 10,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer because of their baby powder use. Many state agencies and cancer research centers are now stating that individuals should use cornstarch-based powders instead of talc-based powders because of the cancer risks.

Ovarian cancer is a serious disease and is expected to result in more than 14,000 deaths this year in the United States. This means it is the fourth most common fatal cancer in women. The major talcum product manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, has failed to warn consumers of the risks of talcum powder and ovarian cancer.

Research and cases against talcum powder

Following the 1971 study that first detected a connection between talcum powder use and ovarian cancer, many more scientific studies have been published in prominent medical journals such as Cancer, The Lancet, and Oncology throughout the past decades. The National Cancer Institute and the International Union Against Cancer have published similar findings. A summary of pivotal studies on the use of baby powder and ovarian cancer is set forth here:

  • 1970s – An article on ovarian cancer caused by talcum powder in The Lancet warns, “The potentially harmful effects of talc … in the ovary … should not be ignored.”
  • 1992 – The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology publishes a study reporting that a woman’s frequent use of baby powder on her genitals increases her risk of ovarian cancer by threefold.
  • 1997 – A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology affirms that perineal dusting of talcum powder contributes to the risk of cancer. It suggests talcum genital deodorant sprays contribute to cancer growth as well.
  • 2003 – A meta-analysis, which compiled and reviews data from 16 previous studies, was published in Anticancer Research. Based on research with nearly 12,000 women, the study concludes that perineal baby powder use is associated with a 33% increase in ovarian cancer risk.
  • 2008 – Harvard epidemiologist Dr. Margaret Gates reaffirms that weekly use of talcum powder for perineal dusting increases the risk of ovarian cancer by 33%. Dr. Gates also asserts that daily use of a product such as Johnson & Johnson’s Shower to Shower talcum powder increases the risk of ovarian cancer by 41%.
  • 2010 – Gates, along with two other Harvard researchers, published a study in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, in which the role of talc particles in other endometrial cancer development was investigated. This study reinforces the notion that talc in baby powder is carcinogenic to humans.

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Lawsuit Against J&J’s Shower-to-Shower Powder

In 2013, Johnson & Johnson was sued in federal court by a woman who used the company’s talcum powder regularly for 30 years and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The company’s attorney claimed that, while it had known for years of its product’s propensity for causing cancer, it felt the risk was too small to warrant a warning to the public.

Even though the executives at Johnson & Johnson deny the cancer connection, the president of the Cosmetic Toiletry and Fragrance Association, Edward Kavanaugh, admitted that talc can cause cancer in humans and that it can cause ovarian cancer when applied to the perineal region. Johnson & Johnson once was one of the most trusted companies in America, but the company has recently been in legal battles because of defective, dangerous, and recalled products.

Women who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and have a history of using talc body powder or baby powder, including Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, Shower-to-Shower Absorbent Baby Powder, and other talc products, may have grounds for a talcum powder cancer lawsuit.

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Ovarian Cancer and Talcum Powder Attorney in Louisiana

Lindsey Cheek is the founding member and chief attorney at the Cheek Law Firm, LLC. She got her J.D. from the South Texas College of Law and her B.B.A. from the University of Houston. Ms. Cheek passed the Bar admissions for the State of Louisiana, the State of Texas, the State of Pennsylvania, and the Northern District of Texas. She is a skilled and experienced lawyer who has recovered millions of dollars in settlements for her clients.