Talcum Powder Use Has Been Linked to Ovarian Cancer

May 2020 Update: Read the latest about the Johnson & Johnson talcum powder lawsuit here.

For generations, talcum powder has been a household fixture. Talcum powder, commonly referred to as baby powder, has been used in American bathrooms and nurseries as a mechanism to soothe skin irritation, absorb moisture, and reduce odor. Johnson & Johnson started selling Baby Powder over 100 years ago labeling it for nursery and bathroom use. There has been talk for decades about the potential risks of using talcum powder. Surprisingly, not until very recently have these risks been confirmed.

What Is Talcum Powder?

Talcum powder is made from talc, which is a mineral made up of the elements magnesium, silicon and oxygen. In its common powder form, it is useful for keeping skin dry and preventing rashes. It has been widely used by adults, specifically women, who use the powder to dust their private parts, underwear and sanitary napkins as a way to stay cool, comfortable and free of odor.

How Is Talc Related to Ovarian Cancer?

Recent studies have suggested that talcum powder can cause cancer in the ovaries if the powder particles that have been applied to the genital area or to sanitary napkins, condoms, etc., were to travel through the vagina, uterus and fallopian tubes to the ovaries. The medical journal Cancer Prevention Research published a study in June 2013 that showed that women who regularly used talcum powder or baby powder for feminine hygiene had a 20% to 30% greater risk of developing ovarian cancer than women who do not use talc products for feminine hygiene. In fact, recent studies show that the odds of a woman in the U.S. falling ill with ovarian cancer are 1 in 70. Use of Talc increases these odds to 1 in 53.

Talcum Powder Lawsuits

A number of lawsuits have been brought against pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson claiming that Johnson & Johnson has known about the risk of ovarian cancer related to talcum powder for decades and they failed to warn its consumers of the danger. The first talcum powder case was successfully argued in 2013 where a federal jury found that talcum contained in some Johnson & Johnson powders created a heightened risk of ovarian cancer when used in the female genital region.

The plaintiff in this case, Jacqueline Fox, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2006 and had used talcum-based Johnson & Johnson powders in her feminine hygiene routine for nearly 30 years. In her deposition, Ms. Fox stated that she had sprinkled Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder on her underwear every day since she was a teen. In a Bloomberg article, Ms. Fox’s deposition is quoted, “I was raised up on it. [It] was to help you stay fresh and clean…we ladies have to take care of ourselves.” Sadly, Ms. Fox died from the cancer in October of 2015. Four months later, the jury found that Johnson & Johnson failed to warn consumers of a known link between the use of talcum powder for feminine hygiene and the risk of ovarian cancer.

When to Contact a Lawyer

Lawyers across the country are reviewing potential cases for people that feel they have been injured by the use of talcum powder. If you or a loved have been frequent users of talcum powder or talcum products, it is important to not only consult your doctor, but to contact an experienced injury attorney immediately.

Call Keller & Keller Today

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