Ovarian Cancer - Is it safe to use talcum powder?

Health care company Johnson & Johnson has had to pay a family more than $72 million in damages after they claimed the company’s talcum powder caused a woman to develop and die from ovarian cancer. Hundreds of other women are making the same claim.

The risk of ovarian cancer was one-third higher among women who regularly powdered their genitals with talc, a recent study found. Researchers asked 2,041 women with ovarian cancer and 2,100 similar women without ovarian cancer about their talcum powder use. Those who said they routinely applied talc to their crotches, sanitary napkins, tampons and underwear had a 33 percent higher risk of ovarian cancer, according to a report in Epidemiology.

In 2006, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified genital talc as possibly carcinogenic. Nonetheless, the CDC does not list talc as a risk factor for ovarian cancer.

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