Ovarian Cancer & Talcum Powder: Is Baby Powder Safe To Use?
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. A Missouri jury recently awarded $72 million in damages to the family of Jackie Fox, an Alabama woman who died at age 62 of ovarian cancer in October 2015. 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.”
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.