talcum powderThe Link Between Ovarian Cancer and Talc powder.
Throughout the past four decades, the link between ovarian cancer and talcum powder use has been documented in several major medical journals. The first indication that there was a link between the two came up in 1971, when one study revealed that women diagnosed with ovarian cancer showed talc particles in their ovarian tissues. However, the companies that produce products such as women’s body powder and baby powder containing talc, have argued against the link since the beginning.

Even though there have been lots of different petitions submitted to the FDA by advocacy groups and medical experts, talcum powder still remains unregulated in the USA. Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition, Dr. Samuel Epstein, has insisted that using talcum powder is dangerous for women. The only way to effectively bring about restrictions on talcum powder is through lawsuits and sharing the experiences of women who have suffered from this awful disease and died.

Science Behind the Link Between Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer

Talc, which is the primary ingredient in talcum powder, is a naturally occurring mineral all over the world. It is a soft mineral that is made up of silicon, oxygen, and magnesium. It is mined, crushed, dried, and then milled so that it can be used in consumer products.

This mineral is used in lots of different products- household and industrial- as a food additive, a lubricant, an anti-caking agent, and even an astringent. It is used in powder due to the fact that it can absorb moisture, prevent rashes and reduce friction. These products have been targeted at women for the purposes of genital hygiene through genital deodorant sprays and body powder.

The talc particles enter a woman’s reproductive system through sanitary pads, tampons, and even condoms or diaphragms that have been dusted with talcum powder. The particles that reach the ovaries can cause the ovarian cancer cells to grow. Experts say that around one in five women in America applies talcum powder to her genitals on a regular basis.

Results of research over the last few decades have shown that women who use talcum powder on a regular basis are three times more likely to develop ovarian cancer than those women who do not use talcum based products. The research shows that the talc particles cause an inflammatory response in the ovaries, which has a wide variety of medical complications. The inflammation can cause damage to DNA and/or an increase in the proliferation of the ovarian cancer cells- which can result in ovarian cancer. Since talc is not a soluble mineral, the particles can remain in bodily tissues for many years to come.

Research Findings on the Link Between Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer

After the 1971 study that first revealed a link between using talcum powder and developing ovarian cancer, there have been lots of other scientific studies published in the medical journals. Following is a description of these studies:

  • 1970s– The Lancet warns that the possible harmful effects on the ovaries caused by talcum powder should not be ignored.
  • 1992– The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology states that using talcum powder on a regular basis does, in fact, increase the risk of developing cancer of the ovaries.
  • 1997– The Journal of Epidemiology states that both talcum powder and talcum sprays increase the risk of ovarian cancer.
  • 2003– Anticancer Research takes the findings of 16 studies and concluded that using talcum powder on the genitals causes a 33 percent increase in the risk of developing ovarian cancer.
  • 2008– Dr. Margaret Gates, an epidemiologist at Harvard states that using talcum powder on a weekly basis does increase the risk of ovarian cancer by 33 percent.
  • 2010– Dr. Gates and other researchers publish a study in Cancer Epidemiology that studied the role of talc particles and other endometrial cancer, which only served to reinforce the idea that the talc in talcum powder does contribute to cancer in humans.