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Talcum powder and the link to cancer

| Mar 6, 2018 | Blog, Talcum Powder |

Does talcum powder lead to cancer? Can it cause ovarian cancer, in particular? These are potentially life-changing questions.

It is critical to know the answers, and they’re questions medical professionals have been asking for years. Johnson & Johnson, one company that produces talcum powder, has faced lawsuits over the risks that weren’t disclosed in the past. Should you worry about your risk of cancer from using this powdered substance?

With lawsuits in courts in California, at least one court has decided that talcum powder is responsible for cancer. A jury in Los Angeles ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a 63-year-old woman $417 million, because she was suffering from a terminal illness. She had been using talcum powder produced by the company since she was only 11 years old.

Commonly known as baby powder, talcum powder does have a potential to cause side effects, juries have decided in approximately six cases. The woman in the above case stated that Johnson & Johnson should have told consumers of the risk. The company claims that there isn’t a connection to the disease, ovarian cancer, from which she’s suffering.

Does talcum powder use lead to cancer?

Medical professionals and experts are divided on the issue. Some believe that the powder has lasting consequences and is linked to a risk of ovarian cancer. Government health experts, on the other hand, don’t think there is any connection. At the very least, the evidence isn’t there to prove causation.

Interestingly, studies have shown mixed findings. The American Cancer Society believes that there could be an increased risk, but even so, that increased risk would be small.

Despite the fact that there is no surefire evidence, people aren’t ruling out the possibility that there could be a link between talcum powder and an increased risk of cancers. The mineral is composed of silicon, hydrogen, oxygen and magnesium, and it’s used in many personal care and cosmetic products. This is despite the fact that impurities in talc could include asbestos.

Women sometimes use talcum powder on their genital areas, which many doctors advise against. Pediatricians advise not to use this powder on babies, either, since it could lead to lung and breathing problems.

Why is there an alleged link if there’s no indisputable evidence?

This goes back to the 1970s. In the 1970s, scientists did discover talcum powder particles in several ovarian tumors, suggesting that it could be a cause or factor in tumor growth. The researcher has long been an advocate for adding ovarian cancer warnings to the Johnson & Johnson products. Several studies have shown a modest increased risk with common use of this household product.

The studies continue to go on to find new or more significant links. In the meantime, people who suffer from these illnesses after a lifetime of talcum powder use do have a right to look into their legal options.

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