Talcum Powder

Baby powder causing ovarian cancer

Talc is a naturally occurring mineral that is crushed, dried and milled into a fine powder. As talcum powder, it is used in a wide range of products to absorb excess moisture, reduce friction, and eliminate odor.

Talc is the major ingredient in Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower products.  Johnson & Johnson has marketed these products for years as an essential part of a woman’s daily feminine hygiene routine.

Talcum Powder Cancer Warnings

Since the 1970s, research from at least 20 studies has shown a strong link between everyday genital talcum powder use and ovarian cancer. Some of the most striking research about the dangers or potential dangers of these products include:

  • In 2006, the International Agency for Research on Cancer placed talc in the category of “possibly carcinogenic to humans” when used for female genital hygiene.
  • In 2008, the Cancer Prevention Coalition, wrote “the industry and, worse still the FDA, remain recklessly unresponsive to [talcum powder cancer] dangers. The FDA has neither banned the genital use of talcum powder, nor required the industry to label it with explicit warnings. This is all the more inexcusable since cosmetic grade starch powder is a readily available safe alternative.”
  • A 2013 article in the Journal of Cancer Prevention Research stated, “Genital powder use has been associated with risk of epithelial ovarian cancer in some, but not all, epidemiologic investigations, possibly reflecting the carcinogenic effects of talc particles found in most of these products.”
  • A 2016 study published in an American Association for Cancer Research journal found, “In a study of AA (African-American) women, body powder use was significantly associated with EOC (epithelial ovarian cancer) risk. Impact: The results support that body powder is a modifiable risk factor for EOC among AA women.”

Despite these overwhelming studies, the cosmetic industry, including Johnson & Johnson, denies the link between talc and cancer. Quite to the contrary, Johnson & Johnson and other talc makers hired researchers in an attempt to discredit the overwhelming body of scientific evidence showing a link between talc and cancer. During one of the recent trials against Johnson & Johnson, it was uncovered that the Cosmetic Toiletry and Fragrance Association formed a “Talc Task Force” to defend the talcum powder industry against research showing the cancer link. The CTFA’s primary funders and members were Johnson & Johnson and Luzenac, a French talc-mining company.