New Study Links Talc Use to Ovarian Cancer

For years, Johnson & Johnson has denied claims that their iconic talc-based baby powder product was responsible for mesothelioma and ovarian cancer diagnoses. With 40,000 lawsuits pending, the company has pushed back on scientific reports and has even filed suit against the scientists behind those reports. Now, a new analysis published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology supports those claims, finding that applying talc powder to the genitals is associated with ovarian cancer.

ovarian cancer

Study Links Frequent and Extended Use of Talc Powder with Risk of Ovarian Cancer

The latest study supports what ovarian cancer victims have been asserting for years, and will be of significant interest to those diagnosed with mesothelioma too. It was conducted by researchers from the National Institutes of Health, who relied on data from a study that enrolled more than 50,000 women to report on their use of the powder. The study was conducted between 2003 and 2009 and included women between the ages of 35 and 74 years old. Each had a sister who had been diagnosed with breast cancer, a risk factor for breast or ovarian cancer.

Johnson & Johnson has pushed back against claims that its talc causes either ovarian cancer or malignant mesothelioma, arguing that the studies that have been conducted have not demonstrated causation. However, there is no good or ethical way to conduct a human study that compares the risk of use versus non-use of the powder, so scientists are left to conduct surveys of past use. This new study will diminish the strength of Johnson & Johnson’s argument and will likely come into play in the pending lawsuits.

Asbestos Contamination of Talc May Play Role in Mesothelioma and Talc

With tens of thousands of personal injury claims filed against them by mesothelioma and ovarian cancer victims, Johnson & Johnson discontinued the use of talc in its baby powder product, replacing it with cornstarch. While the company blamed its shift on waning demand and “misinformation around the safety of the product,” the lead author of the latest study, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences epidemiologist Katie O’Brien, said that women should rethink their use of talc-based products. “We’re not aware of any medically necessary reasons why someone would need to use talcum.”

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma or ovarian cancer, the Patient Advocates at can help. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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