Talcum powder has been used for feminine hygiene, and as a baby care product, for decades. Its name comes from the mineral from which it is derived; talc is composed of silicon, magnesium, and oxygen. Talcum powder is popular for its ability to absorb moisture and reduce friction, which prevents rashes and other types of skin irritation. In addition to being used on its own, talcum powder is also found in many cosmetic products, baby powders, and other consumer goods. Unfortunately, talcum powder has been linked to ovarian cancer in women, and lawsuits are on the rise. Most disconcerting is the evidence that one of the major manufacturers of talcum powder, Johnson & Johnson, knew about the risks since 1982 or earlier. Contact a Boston Injury Lawyer Today.
How Could Talcum Powder Cause Cancer?
When women use talcum powder in the genital area, it is believed that particles of the mineral talc may travel through the reproductive tract, entering the ovaries. These particles may cause inflammation of the ovarian tissue which may result in the development of cancerous tumors. Multiple studies have shown women that use talcum powder in the genital area are at a much greater risk of developing cancer than those who have not. In fact, the first study revealing this link was published in 1971. Researchers found that talc particles remained “deeply embedded” in ovarian and cervical tumors in women who had used talcum powder in the genital area. This study encouraged more research, which resulted in similar outcomes. A 2003 article published in the International Journal of Cancer Research and Treatment reported that talcum powder use increases the risk of developing ovarian cancer by 33%.
In natural form, many talcs contain asbestos, which can cause cancer when inhaled. However, talc products have been asbestos-free for more than four decades. The risk of ovarian cancer is not linked to inhalation, but rather to the potential for talc particles to travel through the vagina, and into the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. This can occur if talcum powder is used in the genital area, applied to sanitary napkins, tampons, condoms, or diaphragms. Continue reading