Three juries have heard evidence of a talcum powder ovarian cancer link. Three juries have heard counter arguments from Johnson & Johnson defense attorneys that no such link exists. Three juries have concluded that such a link does exist. All three juries have also ruled Johnson & Johnson failed to warn women that talc can cause ovarian cancer.
Defense attorneys, meanwhile, continue to argue in the media and on appeal that there is no link, that J&J talcum powder products are safe for women to apply to their genital areas or anywhere else. Defense claims studies show talcum powder is entirely safe.
Scientific Evidence for Talc Cancer Link
What is the scientific evidence for a talc ovarian cancer link?
A professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School and director of the OB/GYN Epidemiology Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston conducted one of the earliest studies linking genital talc use in women and ovarian cancer. His name was Dr. Daniel Cramer and his research was published in 1982. In Dr. Cramer’s opinion, strong evidence from some two-dozen epidemiological studies shows a significant association between talc use for feminine hygiene and ovarian cancer. Dr. Cramer told Live Science that these studies have found regular talc use may increase overall risk of ovarian cancer by about 30 percent. (LiveScience.com: Does Talcum Powder cause Ovarian Cancer?)
A study published in June 2016 showed talc powder applied not only to the genitals but anywhere on the body may raise the risk of cancer. The study also showed that black women – who were specifically target by J&J for talc sales – are at greater risk of ovarian cancer if they use talc.
Talc may cause ovarian cancer if regularly applied to genitals, sanitary napkins
Researchers with Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston said talcum powder has been linked to ovarian cancer when applied to genitals. To determine whether genital talc is a potential carcinogen (capable of causing cancer), researchers recruited 2,041 women with ovarian cancer and 2,100 without the illness, and asked them about their talcum powder use. Researchers found that applying the product to genitals, underwear, and sanitary napkins increased the risk of developing ovarian cancer risk by one third.
Talcum Powder Ovarian Cancer Link
The question then becomes whether these percentages are statistically significant enough to prove approximate causation, general causation and specific causation. The legal bars for each will continue to be haggled over in more talcum powder ovarian cancer trials to come.