Does Baby Powder cause cancer in women? Research into link mixed
Thousands of women with ovarian cancer have filed suit against the consumer-products giant Johnson & Johnson, claiming that the company’s Baby Powder caused their disease and pointing to a long trail of studies linking talc to the cancer. The research dates to 1971, when scientists in Wales discovered particles of talc embedded in ovarian and cervical tumors. Since then, numerous studies have linked genital talc use to ovarian cancer, including a report earlier this month that among African-American women, genital use of powder is linked with a 44 percent increased risk for invasive epithelial ovarian cancer.
Although Johnson & Johnson’s talc supplier added warning labels in 2006, the company did not add similar warnings to its products, according to litigation documents. Baby powder does carry a warning to keep it out of the reach of children, and many pediatricians discourage its use on babies, who can become ill or die after breathing in the particles. Inhalation studies in female rats demonstrated carcinogenicity, according to the National Toxicology Program. Condom and surgical glove makers have stopped dusting their products with talc.