Ovarian Cancer & Talcum Powder: Is Baby Powder Safe To Use?

spilled baby powder

Johnson’s Baby Powder is a household favorite among babies and adults, but recent news has women revisiting horrific claims that are far from brand new. In 2017, a judge awarded a California woman $417 Million dollars for her development of ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson talc-based baby powder for feminine hygiene.

But then another judge tossed out that $417 million award. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Maren Nelson granted the company’s request for a new trial, saying there were errors and jury misconduct in the previous trial that ended with the award two months ago.

Nelson also ruled that there wasn’t convincing evidence that Johnson & Johnson acted with malice and the award for damages was excessive.

In another case, a Missouri jury awarded $72 million in damages to the family of Jackie Fox, an Alabama woman who died at age 62 of ovarian cancer. Fox’s family believes the cancer was caused by her regular use of the popular Johnson & Johnson brand powder and other products containing talcum.

“It just became second nature, like brushing your teeth,” said Fox’s son, Marvin Salter, of his mother’s use and trust of the product. “It’s a household name.”

READ: Silent Killer: What Black Women Must Know About Ovarian Cancer

Johnson & Johnson was found guilty of negligence in a 10-2 jury vote for failure to warn consumers about potential risks of its products.

According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 22,000 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year, with about 14,000 likely to die this year from it.

Among the many risk factors for ovarian cancer, the American Cancer Society also lists talcum powder:

“It has been suggested that talcum powder applied directly to the genital area or on sanitary napkins may be carcinogenic (cancer-causing) to the ovaries. Some studies suggest a very slight increase in risk of ovarian cancer in women who used talc on the genital area. In the past, talcum powder was sometimes contaminated with asbestos, a known cancer-causing mineral. This might explain the association with ovarian cancer in some studies. Since the 1970s, however, body and face powder products have been required by law to be asbestos-free. Proving the safety of these newer products will require follow-up studies of women who have used them for many years. There is no evidence at present linking cornstarch powders with any female cancers.”

What Is Talc?

It is estimated that up to 40% of women today may use talc at least occasionally. Talc is a naturally occurring mineral made of magnesium, silicon, oxygen and hydrogen. It is commonly used in cosmetics and personal care products – like talcum powder (“baby powder”) – to absorb moisture, which is what many people also use the product for to keep skin dry and prevent rashes.

READ: The 6 Types of Ovarian Cysts

A possible link between talcum powder and cancer has been suspected since the early 1970s. British researchers found talc particles “deeply embedded” in 10 of the 13 ovarian tumors they studied.

The investigative watchdog group FairWarning, reported:

In 1982, the journal Cancer published the first study showing…