Talcum Powder Linked to Increased Cancer Risk

About a year ago, I found myself in a mad dash at every convenience store I could find trying to find baby powder. Not just any baby powder – organic or talc-free baby powder.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve used baby powder in my everyday routine. Mom used it on me as a child. As I got older, I used it to keep cool on summer days. Imagine my surprise when I learned a product which was part of my daily life, baby powder, was exposing me to a life threatening disease.

About Talcum Powder
Talcum powder is made primarily from talc, a mineral containing magnesium, silicon and oxygen. Used in baby and facial powders, cosmetics and other consumer products like condoms, diaphragms, sanitary napkins, tampons and vaginal deodorants, talc absorbs moisture and can be used to reduce chafing.

Despite its wide use for decades, the International Agency for Research on Cancer currently classifies the genital use of talc-based body powder as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” In addition, a recent study published by the Cancer Prevention Research journal, states the use of talcum powder-based products on a woman’s genitals increases the risk of developing ovarian cancer in a woman’s lifetime.

Talcum Powder & Ovarian Cancer
The particles which make up talcum powder are extremely fine. Talc does not break down in the body, and when directly applied to a woman’s genital area on a habitual basis, the particles may travel into the vagina, through the fallopian tubes and settle in the ovaries. The ovaries may then become hindered by the presence of talcum powder particles, resulting in an irritation which allows cancer cells to form, grow and spread.

Ovarian cancer is one of the most deadly forms of cancer. This is largely due to the fact that symptoms are often vague and diagnosis is missed until

the cancer has progressed to an advanced stage and/or spread into other areas of the body such as the abdomen and pelvic region. Symptoms may include bloating, abdominal pain, changes in bladder and bowel movements and overall fatigue. Ovarian cancer may take several opinions before being correctly diagnosed.

An estimated 20,000 women are diagnosed each year with ovarian cancer, and more than 14,000 die. The disease strikes about one in 70 women, though studies show women who use talc-containing products on their genitals have a one in 50 chance of developing the disease. Experts state at least 45,000 women have died as a result of ovarian cancer that could be attributed to talcum powder use on the genitals, and an estimated 1,500 women will die within the next year as a result of its use.

Verdicts & Recall Information
It has been argued that Johnson & Johnson knew of the cancer risks associated with its talc products, but failed to warn consumers.

During 2016, three different juries held Johnson & Johnson liable for the injuries its baby powder and Shower to Shower product caused women. Juries awarded $72 million, $55 million and $70 million to the women and/or families of those injured by talc usage.

It’s important to note no recall was issued for Johnson & Johnson’s products containing talc. Instead, J&J will likely be forced to add stronger warnings for women, allowing them to ake a decision for themselves about whether the benefits justify the risk.

Join The Fight!
Let your voice be heard. Sign the petition to ask Johnson & Johnson to release their internal documents revealing the link between talcum powder and cancer. Hundreds have signed, but we need thousands – tens of thousands – of signatures to get the industry’s attention. So, take a brief moment and do something that can change lives forever. Please sign and share the petition with your friends and colleagues, and say to J&J, #TellTheTalcTruth!

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, please feel free to call me for additional information.

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Shakétta Denson
Shakétta A. Denson received her J.D. from The University of Baltimore School of Law in 2010, focusing on litigation and advocacy. She joined ChasenBoscolo in 2015, where she specializes in negligence-based litigation. Along with her work at ChasenBoscolo, Shakétta devotes time to the ProBono Resource Center and Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service. She is also co-chair for the Public Service Committee of the Young Lawyers of the Maryland Bar Association and a committee member for Public Awareness for the Maryland Bar Association. Shakétta currently resides in Baltimore, MD with her fiancé and their two pets. She can be reached directly at sdenson@chasenboscolo.com.