Talcum Powder Ovarian Cancer & the FDA

Have there been any FDA Warnings on Ovarian Talcum Powder Cancer / Baby Powder Cancer?

Despite research which appears to show a link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer, as well as a very recent $72 million award for the family of a plaintiff who died from ovarian cancer (against Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer of baby powder containing talc and Shower to Shower containing talc), the FDA has, thus far, taken no measures regarding talcum powder. The agency asserted there is simply not enough evidence to prove a causal connection between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. 

Further, the FDA noted that because of this lack of concrete evidence, the consumer market could be considerably shaken up due to how often talcum powder is used. According to one survey, in 2011, almost 20 percent of all households had a container of baby powder in the home while another body of research found that as many as 40 percent of women routinely use baby powder for feminine hygiene. In 1993, the Dept. of Health and Human Services’ associate commissioner admitted there was medical literature which reported a link between the use of talcum powder for feminine hygiene over a significant length of time could lead to an increase in ovarian talcum powder cancer.  Despite this, the FDA has not considered a ban, restriction or mandatory warnings on the label of any products containing talc. 

The Cancer Prevention Coalition submitted a petition in 1994 to the federal agency, requesting that baby powder or other dusting powders which contained talc come with a warning label regarding the potential risks of ovarian cancer. The FDA denied this petition. In 2008, another petition was submitted by the CPC. This petition cited new scientific evidence which supported the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer, and asked that the FDA attach a warning to powders containing talc. This time the FDA did not even respond to the petition. 

Unfortunately, it may difficult to penetrate the FDA’s stance on talcum powder as it goes back possibly as far as 1972, when a public health officer requested the agency investigate the potential dangers of talc. A month later the FDA responded to Barry Castleman’s letter by stating he must prove talc to be a threat before the agency would take such an action. When Castleman once again requested that the FDA investigate the dangers of talc, the agency stated they were not responsible for the ingredients in cosmetic products as manufacturers were not required to obtain FDA approval before marketing a product. The FDA has repeatedly stated that talc is not a confirmed carcinogen—despite the fact that talc has a similar nature and behavior pattern as asbestos. 

Ovarian Baby Powder Cancer: Manufacturer Conduct

There have been allegations that Johnson & Johnson had knowledge of the risks associated with talcum powder and ovarian cancer, yet failed to warn women of those risks. Johnson & Johnson maintains that as far as they are concerned, there are no risks associated with talcum powder and ovarian cancer, therefore they had no obligation to issue such a warning. It has yet to be determined whether J & J was aware of any undue risks associated with talcum powder, however in a recent lawsuit a jury awarded $72 million to the family of a woman who died of ovarian cancer at the age of 62, after using talc in J & J baby powder (with talc) and Shower to Shower (with talc) for feminine hygiene for more than three decades. If you believe your ovarian cancer diagnosis is related to the use of talcum powder, baby powder with talc, or shower to shower, it could be very beneficial to call an experienced an ovarian talcum powder cancer attorney who can help to ensure your rights are fully protected.

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