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Study finds association between talcum powder use and development of ovarian cancer

Readers may be aware that the issue of whether products containing talcum powder can cause ovarian cancer is currently being litigated in the courts. The main ingredient in talcum powder is refined talc, a white clay mineral composed of magnesium, silicon, hydrogen and oxygen. Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder is one of the most widely used products containing talcum powder.

Though the company has denied that there is a causal relationship between the use of its baby powder and the development of ovarian cancer, several juries have returned verdicts in favor of consumers. Courts remain divided as to how the cases should be handled, though, with some even dismissing claims citing lack of reliable scientific evidence. 

A study recently published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention reportedly found a link between the use of talcum powder and the development of ovarian cancer. The study was a meta-analysis which looked at both statistical analyses and the results of several prospective studies. What the study found was that women who reported using talc were about 20 percent more likely to develop ovarian cancer than women who reported not using talc.

More research needs to be done, according to the study authors, to determine whether feminine cosmetic products containing talcum powder actually cause ovarian cancer. The study indicates, at least, an association between talcum use and development of ovarian cancer. The study does make clear, though, that it is too premature to conclude that talc causes ovarian cancer.

In our next post, we’ll continue looking at this topic, especially the important issue of proving causation in talc litigation and the importance of working with experienced legal counsel to build the strongest possible case.  

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