Talcum Powder Ovarian Cancer Myth No More

Austin Kirk

By Austin Kirk
Posted February 26, 2016

ADD YOUR COMMENTS 18

For decades, there have been concerns about the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer when it is applied near the female genitals. While some have described this as a “myth”, a St. Louis jury sent a resounding message this week to Johnson & Johnson, awarding $72 million after concluding that the risk is real and that the manufacturer actively withheld information from women throughout the United States.

talcum powder ovarian cancerThe lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. represent families nationwide who are pursuing similar Baby Powder lawsuits and Shower-to-Shower powder lawsuits following an ovarian cancer diagnosis, pursuing financial compensation as a result of Johnson & Johnson’s decision to place their desire for profits before the safety of women.

We applaud this St. Louis jury, who considered all of the evidence in the case and clearly rejected the argument that the talcum powder ovarian cancer risk is a myth.

The verdict highlights the strength of the evidence involved in these cases, and that warnings should have been provided about talcum powder ovarian cancer risk. When applied to the female genitals or placed in the underwear, the powder may migrate through the vagina and into the fallopian tubes, uterus and ovaries, with many cases involving evidence of talc in the ovarian tumors

History of the “Myth”

As early as 1961, researchers found carbon particles similar to talc can translocate from the exterior of a woman’s genitals to her ovaries.

A decade later, in 1971, researchers found particles of talc deeply embedded in ovarian and cervical tumors of women diagnosed with cancer. Indicating that this was no fluke, the same researchers found there was much less of a chance of those particles being found in women without cancer.

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By 1982, Harvard researchers discovered that genital talc use increased the risk of ovarian cancer by 92%. This was followed by numerous other studies that reached similar findings.

Despite these decades-old findings, many talcum powder product manufacturers have dismissed the cancer risk, allowing most women to believe that it was a “myth” that talcum powder causes ovarian cancer. They claimed that the talcum powder research was inconclusive, and refused to even provide warnings on the products about studies that suggested there was a risk.

In 2011, a study by Harvard researchers involving 4,000 women found a dose-response relationship between the use of talc on women’s genitals and ovarian cancer. In that study, researchers found a 200% to 300% increased risk of cancer from perineum talc use and even explained why previous studies had failed to detect the association as strongly in the past.

J&J Knew Ovarian Cancer Was Real Risk

This recent talcum powder trial in St. Louis allowed the jury to see internal memos and documents from Johnson & Johnson, which were unavailable to women purchasing their products. These documents provide further evidence that the company knew it had a problem with talcum powder and turned a blind eye.

In a 1997 letter (published by fairwarning.org), a toxicologist consultant warned a Johnson & Johnson executive that it was foolish to attempt to characterize the scientific evidence as being insufficient in showing a link between ovarian cancer and talc, following a 1994 workshop.

“At that time there had been about 9 studies (more by now) published in the open literature that did show a statistically significant association between hygienic talc use and ovarian cancer,” the letter states. “Anybody who denies this risks that the talc industry will be perceived by the public like it perceives the cigarette industry: denying the obvious in the face of all evidence to the contrary.”

Help Send a Message and Hold J&J Accountable

Not surprisingly, even after being hit with this recent jury awarded for failing to warn women, Johnson & Johnson continues to dismiss the risk and seems to suggest that it has no intention of adding warnings to the products.

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer following use of Johnson & Johnson talcum powder, help strengthen the message for manufacturers that they cannot withhold known risk information from consumers, and help demonstrate that the risk of ovarian cancer from Johnson’s baby powder, Shower-to-Shower and other talcum powders is not a myth.

Contact our lawyers to request a free consultation and claim evaluation.

18 Comments • Add Your Comments

  • Kay says:

    My mother had ovarian cancer in 1969. Dr. Spruill, internal medicine at Emory University Hospital, told her then to stop using this powder because it was linked to ovarian cancer.

    Posted on February 28, 2016 at 4:32 pm

  • Jennifer says:

    Due to be overweight I have used powder underneath my belly. I am the only female in my family who has used it and also the only female to have so many cysts on her ovaries the radiologist actually stopped counting at 24, I have seen this before but have known many others to use baby powder too and while they cannot have children I do not believe any have been found to have cancer.

    Posted on March 5, 2016 at 10:43 pm

  • JEAN says:

    WHAT ABOUT FIBROIDS OR CANCER OF THE BLADDER? ANY COMMENTS PEOPLE?

    Posted on March 5, 2016 at 11:01 pm

  • Patricia says:

    My mother died when I was10. She had ovarian cancer. This was back in the 70s .This makes me so mad. You took my mom and new this stuff the whole time. This is so wrong. What is wrong with picture. Your money is more Important than life.

    Posted on March 6, 2016 at 2:51 am

  • Lynn says:

    Found I had Ovarian cancer last Feb. Still in maintenance CHEMO. I have used talcumn powders all my life not knowing it wasn’t safe.

    Posted on March 19, 2016 at 9:51 am

  • Rita says:

    What would be some symptoms if a person had used baby powder? For years I have used it in my underwear and also applied it to my skin after bathing..

    Posted on March 19, 2016 at 2:42 pm

  • Judy says:

    Both my Mom and I used Shower to Shower powder for years, including in the genital area. I lost my Mom in November 2007, and she had ovarian cancer. Fortunately I have not been diagnosed with it but live in fear that it may happen to me, too.

    Posted on March 26, 2016 at 5:54 pm

  • Lavelle says:

    In March 2015 my mother passed away from complications from ovarian cancer. We, ( me her grandkids, and friends who loved her) still miss her and are still mourning. We just celebrated her birthday on the 15th, and will celebrate her life for the rest of mine.

    For as long as i can remember (at least since early 80’s) my mother used Johnson&Johnson’s baby powder after a bath, and in between for sweating control (ALL OVER HER BODY INCLUDING FEMALE PARTS) She even had a powder puff container in her room and bathroom for after wash offs or “freshening up”.

    She had been getting boils for the longest time so when they stop going away and they said she had cancer- it was very devastating & life changing.

    We never knew that baby power was and/or could be the cause of the boils or the cancer. No one had ever revealed any studies, Johnson & Johnson was an iconic, trusted brand that was the standard of top quality & family safety-according to their advertising and public opinion.

    They should have told people the dangers. They should put the health & lives of countless humans over whatever potential profits projected from loyal consumers.

    If my mother and myself would have known the dangers, we would have not purchased & used Johnson & Johnson baby powder or any other baby powder for our families personal habits.

    I now worry about myself, my daughter and son because it just was a practice our family did.

    Our family’s lives have been forever effected by the immoral choices Johnson&Johnson and the baby power industry have executed toward the lives of humans across the country that were lied to and con’d into trusting them and the products they manufactuer and distribute.

    I started a cancer music project in the mid-90s after my moms initial rounds of chemo to continue the battle against cancer and help increase awareness and help others be more aware to help them #livelovecelebratelife.

    Posted on March 27, 2016 at 11:42 pm

  • Martha says:

    I have lichen sclerosis in vaginal area and have used baby powder for years. Could this be caused by the powder?

    Posted on April 2, 2016 at 7:14 pm

  • Tanya says:

    My step sister died at the age of 16 in 1982 of ovarian cancer, she used shower to shower and baby powder ever since I’ve known her. I’m sure this is what caused her to die at that early age. Johnson $ Johnson caused alot of pain and suffering to me my step sister family, there isn’t much we can do about it now since it has been so long ago.

    Posted on May 14, 2016 at 6:27 pm

  • Steven says:

    JURYS ARE NOT MADE UP OF BIOLOGISTS OR DOCTORS!

    Posted on July 7, 2016 at 10:43 am

  • Debra says:

    Martha – did you find out any information if the powder caused the lichens sclerosis? Thanks.

    Posted on August 17, 2016 at 10:15 am

  • Annie says:

    I would like to know if anyone knows if there is a statue of limitations on the Johnson&Johnson case? Thank you.

    Posted on October 5, 2016 at 8:09 pm

  • Marcia says:

    I also have lichen sclerosus. Very severe. Mother used j&j baby powder on me as infant and I continued to use as adult. Also have endometriosis all my life. Also, my BFF and neighbor’s mom used baby powder on all children, including herself. Bff also has lichen sclerosus and her mother had breast and some type of ovarian cancer.

    Posted on January 4, 2017 at 12:52 pm

  • Nancy says:

    I would like to know if there is an age limit for which this is know longer a threat ?

    Posted on March 20, 2017 at 12:04 pm

  • Carole says:

    I have lichen sclerosis and I was obsessed with the smell of johnsons baby powder and used it all the time until I was diagnosed

    Posted on March 29, 2017 at 11:23 am

  • Judy says:

    I have used both varieties of JANDJ talcum powder. I have not yet developed cancer, but I have developed lichen sclerosis. Is there any correlation here? Have any of the women in the lawsuits developed lichen sclerosis?

    Posted on January 10, 2018 at 12:24 pm

  • Lisa says:

    I also have Lichen sclerosis and endured many years of endometriosis until having a hysterectomy. Still have Lichen sclerosis and have used J&J baby powder my entire life.
    Will be asking my GYN about this onnext visit.

    Posted on August 14, 2018 at 6:03 pm

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