Study Links Talcum Powder Use With Ovarian Cancer

Study Links Talcum Powder Use With Ovarian Cancer
Spilled Baby Powder Austin Kirk / FlickrCC BY 2.0

While the medical community is still debating whether the use of talcum powder from different cosmetic products could actually lead to ovarian cancer, a new study claims it could possibly increase the risk.


According to a newly released study published in the journal of Epidemiology, years of talc use in the genitals could increase the risk of women developing ovarian cancer by as much as 33 percent. The study, which asked 2,041 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer, looked into the possible relationship between the use of talcum powder in the genital area and ovarian cancer.

To validate the result, the researchers also asked at total of 2,100 women who don’t have the cancer as a control group. Both groups of women were asked about their talcum power use. The result shows that a third of those who have used talc power in their genitals developed ovarian cancer.

Lead researcher Dr. Daniel Cramer, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, in a report from the Reuters, said the study is an easily modified risk factor. The Cramer study is also the first to limit the study among women on premenopausal and postmenopausal stages receiving hormone therapy, which can help isolate confounding variables raised during previous studies, the Daily Mail reports.

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Last month, the St. Louis Jury decided in favor Jackie Fox’s family, who filed a lawsuit against the cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson. Fox died of ovarian cancer last year. Her family alleged that she acquired her condition by using Johnson & Johnson’s products.

The plaintiff claimed that Fox has been using some of Johnson & Johnson’s products such as Baby Powder and Shower to Shower. The Jury ordered the cosmetics company to pay the complainant a total of $72 million.

The same ruling sparked debate as to whether the talc powder use, especially when applied in the genitals area, can cause ovarian cancer. Johnson & Johnson for its part stressed that their products remain safe and comply with international standard.