Talcum Powder Linked to Ovarian Cancer
A recent federal products liability case found that Johnson & Johnson knew of reported studies that linked female genital exposure to talcum powder with an ovarian cancer risk, but failed to warn the public.
In October of 2013, Deane Berg, a South Dakota woman who developed ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder for 30 years, sued the company in federal court. By November 2013, the South Dakota federal jury determined that Deane’s ovarian cancer was linked to her use of J&J baby powder. They also found that J&J failed to warn consumers of the link between ovarian cancer and the use of talc-based body powder for feminine hygiene, but determined that the product was not defective without the warning. No damages were awarded.
40% of women are thought to use talcum powder daily for intimate personal hygiene. Despite the outcome of this federal baby powder cancer lawsuit, the FDA has still taken no action to issue a talcum powder cancer warning.
What is Talcum Powder?
Talcum powder is a substance used often in cosmetics and body powders, and is derived from a chalky white mineral called talc. The base mineral in talc is hydrous magnesium silicate, and is often found close to deposits of asbestos, which US regulators have deemed a carcinogen. However, strict regulations since 1976 have prevented asbestos from appearing in talcum powder products.
The tendency for talc particles in the ovaries to result in ovarian cancer has been denied for decades by the cosmetic producer Johnson & Johnson, yet medical researchers have continued to add to the body of peer-reviewed research supporting the ovarian cancer baby powder link.
Below you will find a list of studies that report regular use of talcum powder in the genital area links to a greater risk of ovarian cancer:
- 1976 – The Lancet warned that “The potentially harmful effects of talc . . . in the ovary . . . should not be ignored.”
- 1992 – Published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that weekly use of talcum powder led to a three-fold increase in ovarian cancer risk.
- 1997 – A study published in a edition of American Journal of Epidemiology confirmed the link, and added that genital deodorant sprays with talcum powder could also be linked to ovarian cancer.
- 2003 – The Journal Anticancer Research compiled data from 16 previous studies which involved data from 12,000 women and concluded that perineal baby powder use raised the risk of ovarian cancer later in life by 33%.
- 2008 – Harvard epidemiologist Dr. Margaret Gates reaffirmed the 2003 and 1992 studies, stating that her research led to the conclusion that weekly talcum powder use in the genital area raised the risk of developing ovarian cancer by 33%. She also specifically called out Johnson & Johnson’s product Shower to Shower, which she said could lead to a 41% increase in ovarian cancer risk with regular use.
- 2010 – Margaret Gates published an addition study on the link between baby powder use and later ovarian cancer risk.
- 2013 – A recent student conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, showed that regular talcum powder use can increase the risk of ovarian cancer in women by 24%.
Researchers stressed the results only apply to talcum powder used in the genital area and not the rest of the body.
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Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
- Issues with eating such as feeling full quickly after eating.
- Stomache or Pelvic pain
- Urge to urinate frequently
Symptoms of Advanced Ovarian Cancer
- Changes in bowel movements
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Persistent fatigue
- Abdominal weight gain and bloating
- Sudden weight gain or weight loss
- Johnson & Johnson’s® Baby Powder
- Shower to Shower® absorbent body powder
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Talcum Powder Personal Injury Cases
If you have been harmed, or a loved one has regularly used talcum powder and has since developed ovarian cancer, the attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. You may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so contact us today. 803.252.4800.
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