Does Using Baby Powder Cause Ovarian Cancer?
Millions of mothers use talcum powder—generally marketed under the label of “baby powder”—to treat diaper rash in their infant children. Talcum powder is also used by mothers on their own bodies, typically through application to undergarments and private parts, to cool down their groin area and mask vaginal odors. Manufacturers of talcum powder, notably pharmaceutical conglomerate Johnson & Johnson, have spent decades encouraging such cosmetic uses of their products. But has this placed women at greater risk of developing an particular form of cancer?
How Serious Is an Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis?
While not the most common form of the disease, ovarian cancer is one of the most deadly. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ovarian cancer is responsible for more deaths than any form of cancer affecting the female reproductive system, even though ovarian cancer only accounts for about 3 percent of all cancer diagnoses in women. The CDC’s most recent figures indicate that nearly 21,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year, and over 14,000 women die as a result of ovarian cancer.
There are a number of factors that may increase a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer, including their age—middle-aged women are most likely to be diagnosed—or a family history of the disease. However, the CDC and other government health agencies are careful to note there is no single known cause of ovarian cancer, and many women get the disease “without being at high risk.” There is therefore also no known way to avoid contracting ovarian cancer.
Forty-Five Years of Studies Suggest Baby Powder-Ovarian Cancer Link
Over the past several decades, an increasing body of scientific literature has strongly suggested there may be an increased risk of ovarian cancer if women use talcum powder as a cosmetic in and around their vaginal area. Talcum powder is made from talc, a naturally occurring clay mineral. Because it is the softest known mineral and not soluble in water, talc is considered an ideal lubricant.
In 1971, a British study found talc particles “deeply embedded” in 10 out of 13 ovarian tumors studied, according to a recent report published by Bloomberg. Just over a decade later, a second study conducted by a Boston physician “showed the first statistical link between genital talc use and ovarian cancer.” While neither the CDC nor the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have made any official findings on this subject, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a department of the United Nations’ World Health Organization, does include talc in its listing of possible cancer-causing agents, noting, “There is limited evidence in humans for the carcinogenicity of perineal [genital-area] use of talc-based body powder.”
Have You or a Family Member Been Diagnosed With Ovarian Cancer?
If you are a long-term user of talcum powder who has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer—or you are someone who has tragically lost a family member due to ovarian cancer—you may have a case for product liability against the manufacturer. Many individuals have already filed such lawsuits and won substantial jury verdicts. While there is no guarantee you will have a similarly successful case, a Tennessee talcum powder lawsuit attorney can advise you on the steps involved and help you decide whether to proceed. Contact the offices of Fox, Farley, Willis & Burnette, Attorneys at Law, in Knoxville or Clinton if you need speak with a lawyer right away.