There have been suggestions of a potential association between talc powder used in the genital region, on underwear, diaphragms, tampons and sanitary napkins, for more than three decades, however the topic is controversial. Johnson & Johnson continues to maintain there is no causal connection between the use of talc and ovarian cancer, while research has had conflicting results. The American Cancer Society claimed the findings on talc powder and ovarian cancer were “mixed,” while the International Agency for Research on Cancer designated the use of talc in a woman’s genital region as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
The issue is somewhat curious, as many manufacturers of powders began using cornstarch instead of talc many years ago. In fact, Johnson & Johnson markets several powders which use cornstarch rather than talc. The question arises as to why J & J would continue to sell powder containing talc, when there was an alternative, and why, if there was any question regarding the safety of talc, J & J would not warn women of that possibility. Dr. Daniel Cramer, a professor at Harvard Medical School was a pioneer in the research done on talcum powder’s link to ovarian cancer. Cramer’s research was published in the early 1980’s, yet received little attention.
Cramer’s research was published in 1982. Since that time, Cramer continues to maintain there is substantial evidence from a significant number of epidemiological studies to make the association between ovarian cancer and the use of talc for feminine hygiene. Many of those studies found that regular use of talcum powder in the genital region could increase a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer by 30-40 percent. Some studies done more recently have found a dose-response effect among premenopausal women, particularly those who are overweight, and in postmenopausal women who use hormone replacement therapy.
Dose-response indicates that the risk of ovarian cancer increases, the longer a woman uses the talcum powder in the perineal region, or the more applications of talc over time. What researchers do know is that talc is an inflammatory agent. Inflammation in the human body has been found to be a precursor to many types of cancer. Cramer claims that tissues taken from ovarian cancer tumors have been examined by pathologists, and that talc was found in those tissues. The theory is that talcum powder fibers migrate through the vagina, the uterus and the fallopian tube, into the ovaries. Once there, the talc induces inflammation, disrupting the immune system. As more and more women come forward, more research may be done which will give women the answers they need.
If you or someone you love has developed ovarian cancer after using a talc-based product, such as baby powder or Shower-to-Shower, it is important to know that you have legal options. We can help you take part in national lawsuits that are happening all across the country. At Aaron Levine & Associates, our Washington DC-based firm is ready to help you seek justice. Contact our talcum powder lawsuit attorneys today for a free initial consultation and review of your case.