Question

I live in California and have been using baby powder for feminine hygiene for many years. Does baby powder cause cancer?

Nicole K.H. Maldonado - Personal Injury - Products - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Nicole K.H. Maldonado

Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, PC
Los Angeles, CA
Phone: 310-207-3233
Fax: 310-820-7444

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Answer

The answer to this question lies in the data…

Information about the possible association between talcum powder (baby powder) and ovarian cancer appeared in a 1971 study conducted by Dr. WJ Henderson and others in Wales.

In 1982, Dr. Daniel Cramer performed the first epidemiological study examining talc use in the female genital area. Dr. Cramer’s study found a 92 percent increased risk of ovarian cancer among women who used talcum powder in the genital area.

Since that 1982 study, there have been at least 22 other epidemiological studies providing data on feminine hygiene use of talcum powder and the possible link to ovarian cancer. Nearly all of these studies showed an elevated risk for cancer among women who used talcum powder in the genital area.

The United States National Toxicology Program (USNTP) published a study in 1993 on the toxicity of non-asbestiform talc (asbestos is removed from the talc mineral). This study found clear evidence of carcinogenic activity for talc with or without the presence of asbestos.

A year after the USNTP study was published, the Cancer Prevention Coalition (CPC) mailed a letter to Ralph Larson, who was then CEO of Johnson & Johnson, the largest manufacturer of baby powder products. The letter informed Mr. Larson that studies as far back as 1960’s conclusively show “that the frequent use of talcum powder in the genital area pose a serious health risk of ovarian cancer.”

The CPC letter cited yet another study on talc, this one by Dr. Bernard Harlow from Harvard Medical School. In his study, Dr. Harlow and his colleagues discouraged women from using talcum powder in the genital area.

In 2006, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified perineal use of talc body powder as a “Group 2B” human carcinogen. According to IARC, between 16 and 52 percent of women in the world were using talc for feminine hygiene and found an increased risk of ovarian cancer in women talc users ranging from between 30 and 60 percent.

The data above has convinced juries throughout the country to side with plaintiffs suing Johnson & Johnson over the link between feminine hygiene use of baby powder and ovarian cancer. If you would like to learn more about the litigation against Johnson & Johnson, or if you would like to speak with me about filing a talcum powder lawsuit, please call 800-827-0087 or visit the preceding link.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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