The Effects of Talcum Powder
Just because you’ve used a common household hygiene product for years doesn’t mean it’s safe. Talcum powder has been promoted for decades by companies claiming that it helps eliminate friction, is gentle on the skin and provides a clean, pleasant scent. The powder is commonly used by mothers to reduce babies’ diaper rashes and by women in general as a personal hygiene product. However, a growing number of studies have found that the use of talcum powder in the genital area may increase a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Talcum powder is typically marketed as “talc powder,” “baby powder” or “body powder” and contains the mineral talc. Johnson & Johnson sold the powder brand Shower to Shower in 2012 to Valeant. Although it is often used by women as part of their daily hygiene regimen, the use of talcum powder on the genitals and perineal area, either through direct application or by applying it to sanitary napkins, has been associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer.
Studies have found that the powder may travel into the genital tract, causing inflammation. Frequent, long-term use of talc powder in these areas allegedly doubles or triples the risk of developing ovarian cancer. A jury recently ordered the company to pay $55 million in a recent talc powder trial.
Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer Links
In 2013, Cancer Prevention Research published “Genital powder use and risk of ovarian cancer: a pooled analysis of 8,525 cases and 9,859 controls,” which found that “genital powder use was associated with a modest increased risk of epithelial ovarian cancer relative to women who never used powder.” We are seeing more and more lawsuits over baby powder raising questions about cancer risk.
A recent study found association between body powder use and ovarian cancer in African-Americans. A researcher with the University of Virginia released a study on May 12, 2016 which found regular use of talc powder by African-American women placed them at greater risk for developing ovarian cancer. This hits very close to home as St. Louis has a large population of African American residents. In one recent case, a St. Louis jury awarded talcum powder plaintiff $72 million in damages.
The American Cancer Society reports that the risk of ovarian cancer may be increased with perineal talcum powder use and that research continues to determine the magnitude of the increased risk. Additionally, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization, classifies the perineal use of talc-based body powder as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
What Should You Do?
There is hope and there is help. If you or someone you know has used talcum powder around the genital area, and has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, you may have a talcum powder claim. Please contact Orlowsky Law by email or call 314-725-5151.