Talcum powder, a seemingly harmless cosmetic substance used for years by both adults and children around the world. Moms have never thought twice before showering themselves and their kids with prodigious amounts of talcum powder before leaving the house. But times are a changing and according to some medical studies, like many things around us talcum powder might also be carcinogenic. At least when applied near the genitals.
A jury in St. Louis, USA just this week awarded 72 million USD to the family of Jackie Fox of Alabama. Jackie died from Ovarian cancer in October, 2015 but before her death she had filed a civil suit blaming Johnson & Johnson’s Shower to Shower and baby powder for her cancer. The case was continued by her son Marvin Salter after her death and the jury seems to agree with Jackie and Marvin’s conviction.
Talcum powder earlier used to contain traces of asbestos which could lead to lung cancer but talcum powder sold nowadays are free from asbestos impurities. But what do experts have to say on this topic? According to The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), talcum powder can be carcinogenic but The American Cancer Society thinks it is not.
Dr. Francisco Xynos from SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital thins the link between cancer and talcum powder is weak but Director of OB/GYN Epidemiology Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston Dr. Daniel Cramer says that talcum powder can increase likelihood of ovarian cancer. Johnson & Johnson have released a statement saying this verdict, “Goes against decades of sound science proving the safety of talc as a cosmetic ingredient in multiple products.” The company is most likely to appeal against this verdict and lawyers think the damages would be significantly reduced in the favour of the company. Till then, cut down on talcum powder a little bit maybe.