Is There a Link Between Talc and Cancer?

Talcum powder is derived from talc, which is a hydrated magnesium silicate. It is used for many purposes and is found in many home across the U.S. in some form or another.

As we recently reported to you, there are thousands of women across the United States who may have developed ovarian cancer from the use of talcum powder. Lawsuits are being investigated over inadequate warnings provided by manufacturers who sell talcum-based products under various names, including Baby Powder, Shower-to-Shower and Talc Powder.

There has been at least one lawsuit successfully filed against Johnson & Johnson over failure to warn about the risk of ovarian cancer from their Shower-to-Shower Body Powder product.

Talc is most commonly known as Baby Powder and is used to prevent or treat diaper rash. However, millions of women around the world also use this product for personal hygiene. Several studies have been conducted linking the use of talc to ovarian cancer.  In a study published in the medical journal Cancer Prevention Research, in June 2013, it was reported that women who regularly use talcum powder in the genital region increase their risk of ovarian cancer by 24 percent. Researchers say that the increased risk of ovarian cancer could be caused when talcum particles travel into a woman’s body and cause inflammation after being absorbed into the skin. Talc particles can remain in the body for an extended time period, which can cause the growth of cancer cells. It was estimated by some experts that one particle of talc would take eight years to dissolve.

Talc is known to cause cancer and is found to have fibers similar to that found in the asbestos.

Talcum powder is also used in deodorants, chalk, crayons, textiles, soap, insulating materials, paints, asphalt filler, paper and in food processing. Many cosmetic products contain talc, as well.

For decades, there have been concerns over the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. However, the manufacturers have been selling talcum powder as a safe product, while withholding pertinent safety information from consumers.

Researchers found that 75 percent of all ovarian tumors studied in 1971 were embedded with talc.

A South Dakota jury in October 2013 determined that Johnson & Johnson failed to adequately warn women about the risk of ovarian cancer from body powder use. The trial involved a 56-year-old woman diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2006 after using Johnson & Johnson Shower-to-Shower talc powder. Three doctors who examined her cancer tissue using an electron microscope found talc in the tissue and determined that her cancer was caused by the body powder.

According to one expert’s testimony during the trial, it is estimated that 10,000 cases of ovarian cancer may be caused by talcum powder each year.

A study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston examined data collected from eight separate studies about the possible link between talcum powder and ovarian and uterine cancer. After analyzing data from 8,525 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and comparing the data to body powder use among 9,800 women who remained cancer-free, the researchers concluded that the regular use of body powder after bathing or showering increased the risk of ovarian cancer by 24 percent. Researchers emphasized that the results only apply to the use of talcum powder in the genital area and not the rest of the body.

This recent data further supports previous studies that suggested a link between talc and ovarian cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, an analysis combining data from 16 studies published prior to 2003 found a nearly 30 percent increase in ovarian risk among talc users and strongly suggested additional research given the widespread use of talc in so many cosmetic and hygiene products.

For almost a half-century, manufacturers have known about the possible link between talc and ovarian cancer, yet these products are still on the shelves in stores across the country today. Why has nothing been done to protect consumers against this potential life-threatening product?

Feel free to contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).

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