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Some clinical studies have shown a link between talcum powder use and ovarian cancer. And juries have found Johnson & Johnson responsible in some cases. One 2019 verdict awarded a woman $29 million for J&J allegedly causing her ovarian cancer. (Reuters.com)
Talcum Powder Overview
Talcum powder is made from talc, the softest mineral on earth. When it is ground into a fine powder, it is smooth and silky and ideal to absorb moisture, reduce odors and lower friction. These properties make it the perfect ingredient for baby powder, makeup, deodorants, and many other consumer products.
Johnson & Johnson makes one of the most well-known talcum powder products, including its Baby Powder. Millions of women have used J&J Baby Powder on their bodies, including their genitals, for decades for hygiene purposes. But there are studies that suggest that some talcum powder can contain traces of asbestos, a known carcinogen that causes ovarian cancer and mesothelioma.
Talcum Powder Clinical Studies and Ovarian Cancer
Clinical studies first determined a link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer in the 1970s. Researchers found talc particles in ovarian tumors. The talcum powder particles also have been found in the lymph nodes of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
Further, a 2007 report in the Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology found talc particles present in the lymph nodes of a woman with stage 3 ovarian cancer. The woman had used talcum powder on her genitals for 30 years. (NIH.gov)
There also are several epidemiological studies that have suggested a link between using talcum powder and ovarian cancer. For example, a study in 2016 suggested that women who use talcum powder on their genitals have a 30% higher risk of getting ovarian cancer.
A 2015 clinical study also found that using talcum powder on the genitals increases the risk of ovarian cancer by 30% to 60%. Eliminating talcum powder from their personal hygiene could protect 25% of women who develop ovarian cancer.
Another study looked at talcum powder use on the genitals and ovarian cancer rates in 1,000 women. It examined the personal hygiene habits of 600 women with stage 4 ovarian cancer and 700 women who were cancer-free.
The clinical study determined that using talcum powder regularly on the genitals increased the risk of getting ovarian cancer by 45%. The risk of ovarian cancer for women over a whole lifetime who used talcum powder was higher than those who did not use it. (center4research.org)
Also, a 2019 clinical study that was revealed at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology showed a connection between talcum powder and inflammation in normal and ovarian cancer cells. The researchers found that adding the powder to ovarian cancer cell lines created a higher oxidative state. (Cancertherapyadvisor.com)
Regulatory Agencies Opinions on Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer Risk
Opinions vary from assorted regulatory agencies on whether talcum powder use can cause ovarian cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the WHO, has stated that using talc can be ‘possibly carcinogenic’ to humans.
But the National Cancer Institute has said that the evidence to date does not show a strong link between talc exposure and ovarian cancer. Also, the American Cancer Society states the effects of talcum powder on ovarian cancer are mixed. But because talcum powder is used so much in the consumer market, more research needs to be done.
The FDA says evidence of a causal effect is not there. But it is continuing to research the issue as there are many adverse events being reported to the FDA about talcum powder use and cancer.
Johnson & Johnson and Its Knowledge About Asbestos in Some Talcum Powder
It has been proven that asbestos has sometimes been found in samples of J&J talcum powder. A 2018 investigation by Reuters studied thousands of J&J internal documents and company memos covering more than 40 years. Some documents stated that as early as 1971, scientists informed J&J that there were traces of the carcinogen in some talcum powder samples. (Reuters.com)
These documents showed that company executives knew about the presence of asbestos traces in some talcum powder but they chose to say nothing. In fact, they claimed the asbestos levels were too small to worry about. But many scientists say that any amount of asbestos exposure is too much.
Juries Opinions on Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer Link
The scientific debate about talcum powder and ovarian cancer is ongoing. But many juries across the country have often sided with consumers in talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuits. Since 2016, there have been at least six juries that have ruled against Johnson & Johnson. Below are a few examples:
- In August 2017, a cancer victim got a $417 million verdict as she was dying from ovarian cancer. She used baby powder on her genitals for more than 40 years. (com)
- In May 2017, a St. Louis jury found in favor of a woman and awarded her $110 million who was being treated for ovarian cancer that spread all over her body. She used baby powder on her genitals for more than 30 years. (com)
- In November 2016, a California jury found in favor of a woman and awarded her $70 million for her ovarian cancer. (com)
- In July 2018, a St. Louis jury awarded 22 women $4.6 billion. The jury said that J&J had caused the women’s ovarian cancer after they had used it on their genitals for years. (com)
The bottom line is that there is a possible link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer, especially if you were a heavy user of talcum powder on your genitals for years. It is possible some J&J Baby Powder had asbestos in it, which could lead to cancer in some cases.
Get Ovarian Cancer Legal Help Immediately
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