What Do North American Health Agencies and U.S. Congressional Testimony Say About Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer?

Commentary from Health Canada, National Institute of Health, and the United States Congress

January 02, 2020 - Have you been diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using J & J talcum powder for feminine hygiene? If so, you are one of literally thousands of women who believe the use of talcum powder led to their diagnosis of ovarian cancer.

Across the United States, there are currently more than 20,000 pending lawsuits against the pharmaceutical giant from women diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using J & J talc. More recently, at least one lot of J & J talcum powder was found to have traces of asbestos—despite the fact that J & J has asserted for years that there is no asbestos in their talcum powders.

Those who have lawsuits against J & J were likely encouraged when a number of initial trials were decided in favor of the plaintiffs. Unfortunately, these verdicts were mostly reversed, whether for venue issues or errors of law. Although J & J denies the studies and the science which shows talcum powder use can lead to ovarian cancer, many other agencies agree with the scientific findings.

Health Canada Regulators Opinion on Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer - The Canadian government recommended last December that talc be added to the country’s Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist, saying it is harmful to health. The preliminary assessment by Health Canada cited a risk for human health. Talc was determined to be present in as many as 8,500 self-care products and 6,500 cosmetic problems in Canada, according to one assessment. Health Canada is recommending that consumers check product labels for talc, choosing talc-free alternatives. Health Canada is the equivalent of the U.S. FDA; the agency went through the entire causation analysis, concluding there is a consistent and statistically significant positive association between exposure to talc and ovarian cancer.

What Conclusions Have Other Agencies Drawn? The National Institute of Health says the perineal use of talcum powder is associated with a 20-30 percent increased risk in ovarian cancer. High-grade serous cancers are the most likely to be caused by talcum powder use. The United States Congress has even gotten involved; Dr. Anne McKiernan, an expert for the plaintiff, was involved in a women’s health study, which was subsequently part of one of the lawsuits. Dr. McKiernan testified before Congress this past February on the potential dangers of talc.

McKiernan looked at 38 studies conducted over the past 40 years, that included 14,000 women with cancer, and even more without cancer. McTiernan found that the women who used talcum powder for feminine hygiene purposes had a statistically significant (22-31 percent) increased risk of developing ovarian cancer when compared to women who did not use talcum powder. McTiernan believes talc use results in an inflammatory response, which, in turn, allows the development of cancer. The European Union has banned the use of talc in beauty and health products, and the World Health Organization states talc is a possible human carcinogen. All in all, the evidence seems clear—there is a link between the use of talcum powder for feminine hygiene and the development of ovarian cancer.

Getting Help for Your Diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer - If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using J & J talcum powders in the perineal area, you could benefit from speaking to a talcum powder ovarian cancer attorney. We can answer all your questions regarding your diagnosis, and whether you should file a lawsuit against J & J pursuing compensation for your injuries.

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Author: Andrew Sullo
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