Why Is It Difficult To Establish A Direct Relationship Between Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer?

Why Is It Difficult To Establish A Direct Relationship Between Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer?

Talcum powder (also known as baby powder) is advertised as a mild and safe substance that may be used on a newborn infant and is used in a variety of cosmetics.

Talc is a moisture-absorbing material that keeps skin dry and prevents rashes while causing only minor skin irritations and allergic responses. As a result, it is used not only for powdering newborns, but also for feminine hygiene by women. Recent research has shown a possible relationship between ovarian cancer and talcum powder, leading to a slew of lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson.

In two different lawsuits this year, Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay millions of dollars in damages. A $72 million settlement was awarded to the family of an Alabama woman who died of ovarian cancer allegedly caused by decades of using baby powder for feminine hygiene. Most recently, a St. Louis woman was awarded $55 million after claiming she acquired ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson baby powder for over 40 years for feminine hygiene. Johnson & Johnson knew about the danger, but did not notify customers, according the lawsuit.

Johnson & Johnson is facing close to 1,200 lawsuits.

For how long has Johnson & Johnson been aware of the risks? More than 20 studies have connected the usage of talcum powder to ovarian cancer since the early 1970s.

Over 2,000 women with ovarian cancer were studied, and it was shown that women who used talc-based powder for feminine hygiene were 33 percent more likely to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer than those who did not. According to certain experts, Johnson & Johnson has been aware of the possible dangers since 1982.

Even though some studies have found a relationship between the product and the dangers, others have found it difficult to link talcum powder to ovarian cancer. Estimates of risk are based on limited sample sizes and are not always accurate. Additionally, since  people were asked about their use of talcum powder after their initial diagnosis, there is a risk of bias. Studies have also been unable to identify which came first: talcum powder usage or ovarian cancer, and because other variables in a woman’s health may also contribute to ovarian cancer, it is difficult to state with certainty that talcum powder is the primary cause.

Even if the results are mixed, if you have ovarian cancer and often use talcum powder, you may be eligible for compensation. There is no commitment to discuss your case with one of GPW’s attorneys.. Contact us today.


Mary Bowerman, “Johnson & Johnson to pay $72M in talcum powder-related cancer case,” USA Today (Feb. 24, 2016) [Link]
Bazian, “Talc and ovarian cancer: what the most recent evidence shows,” NHS Choices (March 8, 2016) [Link]
Daily Hornet, “Baby Powder Cancer Lawsuit Goes to Trial in St. Louis,” April 28, 2016 [Link]
The Guardian, ” Johnson & Johnson loses another court case over talcum powder and cancer,” (May 2, 2016) [Link]

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