Use of talcum powder linked to ovarian cancer

How could daily use of Johnson and Johnson talcum powder increase your risk of developing ovarian cancer?

As its name suggests, talc in the main substance in talcum powder. In powder form the mineral talc, which is composed of magnesium, silicon and oxygen, absorbs moisture and reduces friction. It can help keep skin dry and reduce rashes.

Women in their teen years often start dusting talcum powder as part of their sanitary routine. For many it becomes a part of their morning routine.

What few women have realized is that the talc can travel into their ovaries and cause inflammation. This daily use of talc-based products has been linked to a higher risk for ovarian cancer.

Possibly carcinogenic

The World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer has listed talc-based powders "possibly carcinogenic to humans" when used on the perineum. This is precisely the area where talcum powder is most commonly used.

The American Cancer Society recommends limiting the use of talcum powder and substituting cornstarch-based products instead.

Researchers have been studying the presence of talc in ovarian cancer cells for more than 40 years. A 1992 study found a significantly higher risk for developing ovarian cancer in women who directly applied the powder.

Dr. Daniel Cramer, the head of the Obstetrics and Gynecological Epidemiology Center at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston has had concerns about talcum powder since 1984. In his most recent study, he found the use of talcum powder increased the risk of ovarian cancer by a third.

Dr. Cramer has recommended that talc-based products contain warning labels, but his efforts have never been successful.

Failure to warn of the risk

Johnson & Johnson has sold products containing talcum powder for years. One of their products, Shower to Shower comes in different scents and a sport variety for athletes. As women who have used these products develop ovarian cancer, many have filed lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson for failing to warn of the known danger.

The family of a woman who died of ovarian cancer sued Johnson & Johnson after a pathologist found inflammation from talc in her ovaries had turned into cancer. She had used Johnson & Johnson products for 35 years.

In one of the cases to reach trial, a jury awarded the family of the woman who died $72 million dollars in actual and punitive damages. One piece of damaging evidence was a memo from a Johnson & Johnson medical consultant in the mid-90s that said denials of the risk were "denying the obvious in the face of all evidence to the contrary."

When a company knows a product may pose a serious risk, but fails to remove it from shelves or provide a warning remedies are available.

Help for those diagnosed with ovarian cancer

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, speak with the San Antonio products liability attorneys at the Maloney Law Group. Our firm will investigate your claim and fight on your behalf for all available remedies.

Keywords: talcum powder, ovarian cancer risks, products liability, failure to warn of dangers