Talcum powder may increase ovarian cancer risk by a third

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Wetness and odor are not topics of everyday conversation. For decades, women have used talcum powder to control both. Johnson & Johnson markets a range of products that use talcum powder for this purpose. One of these, marketed as Shower to Shower, comes in different scents and formulations for sport use.

The talc in these products absorbs moisture and reduces friction, but researchers continue to find evidence that links talc-based products to ovarian cancer. This is serious, because 20,000 American women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year.

Recent $72 million verdict

At the beginning of March, a jury in St. Louis found Johnson & Johnson failed to warn consumers of health dangers posed by its talcum products.

The family of an Alabama woman who died of ovarian cancer after using the company’s talc-based feminine hygiene products sued on her behalf. The multi-million dollar verdict included actual damages and punitive damages designed to send a message to the large conglomerate.

Internal memo from a medical consultant

One damning piece of evidence reported by USA Today was a 1997 memo from a consultant that stated denying the link between hygienic talc and ovarian cancer risks was “denying the obvious in the face of all the evidence to the contrary.”

The company maintains that their products are safe. The company will likely appeal the decision. Approximately 1,200 lawsuits are pending.

Recent study finds increased risk

A recent study published by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston looks closer at links between talcum powder use and ovarian cancer. They recruited women with ovarian cancer and a similar sample without the illness.

The results showed that applying talcum powder to underwear or sanitary pads increased the risk of developing ovarian cancer by a third. Other risk factors included weight, hormone use in menopause and smoking. However, women could have stopped using talc-based products if they had been informed.

Dr. Daniel Cramer, the lead author first reported the link back in 1984. His repeated calls to put warning labels on products never went anywhere.

After an ovarian cancer diagnosis, speak with one of the attorneys at Weisfuse & Weisfuse LLP, to learn about your rights. Your daily use of talcum powder may have been an underlying cause and you may be entitled to monetary damages. Call 212-983-3000 for a free consultation.

Source: Medical Daily, “Talcum Powder May Cause Ovarian Cancer If Regularly Applied To Genitals And sanitary Napkins,” Jalessa Baulkman, Mar. 6, 2016

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