Women have been using Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products in their feminine hygiene routines for decades because the brand advertised them as being perfectly safe. Over the years, numerous studies have found a connection between talcum powder and ovarian cancer, raising concerns over whether these products are actually safe.

Despite knowing the risks, Johnson & Johnson refused to place warning labels on their Shower-to-Shower or Johnson’s Baby Powder products. Women who have used these products and developed ovarian cancer may have the legal right to file a talcum powder lawsuit against J&J, and should contact an attorney to understand your legal rights.

Get a free case evaluation.

Does Talcum Powder Cause Ovarian Cancer?

Talcum powder is made from talc, a naturally occurring mineral that often appears near asbestos deposits. In 1971, a link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer was discovered by four OB/GYNs who found talc particles in more than 75 percent of the ovarian tumors they investigated. Since then, many additional studies have further supported a connection between talc products and ovarian cancer.

In 2016, the talcum powder cancer debate became an international media story as Johnson & Johnson lost 3 lawsuits back to back over claims that its talc-based products caused ovarian cancer in women.

Learn more about ovarian cancer

How is ovarian cancer caused by talc?

Even with 40 years of studies pointing to a connection between ovarian tumors and talcum powder, it is still unclear exactly what causes them to form. Tumors can develop regardless of whether talc is applied directly or indirectly, such as when dusted onto underwear, sanitary napkins, etc.

One theory about how talcum powder causes ovarian cancer is that the talc particles can travel from the pelvic region to the ovaries and cause inflammation, a condition that frequently plays a role in the development certain types of cancer. That inflammation can eventually lead to the formation of cancerous tumors.

Is there any scientific proof of the connection?

Medical studies as far back as the early 1970s have demonstrated a link between talc and cancer. More recently, three large-scale studies of over 85,000 women conducted since 2008 have reignited the argument.

Large-Scale Studies of Ovarian Cancer and Talc
Study SizeConclusionSource
Meta-analysis of multiple early studies“epidemiological evidence suggests that use of cosmetic talc in the perineal area may be associated with ovarian cancer risk.”Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, April 2008
66,028 women“perineal talcum powder use increases the risk of endometrial cancer, particularly among postmenopausal women”Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, April 2010
18,384 womenUsing genital powder has “a 20–30% increase in risk of developing epithelial ovarian cancer”Cancer Prevention Research, August 2014

Based on these studies, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has deemed talc to be a “possible carcinogen” for women.

Did Johnson & Johnson’s talc products cause my cancer?

While there is a link between Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products and ovarian cancer, there is still more research needed to understand the exact cause. What is known is that particles of talc have been discovered in tumors removed from the ovaries and nearby areas of the body, indicating that the particles could have played a role in the development of the cancer.

Johnson & Johnson denies that either it’s Shower to Shower or Baby Powder products cause ovarian cancer, and they refuse to place warning labels on these products despite the evidence that exists and the repeated verdicts against them. If you have questions about whether these products have lead to your ovarian cancer diagnosis, click below to speak with a lawyer.

Get a free case review

Johnson & Johnson’s Talcum Powder Products

Both of Johnson & Johnson’s flagship personal care products contain talc.

Johnson & Johnson’s Shower-to-Shower Powder has been marketed to women for nearly 50 years as a daily feminine hygiene product to eliminate odors and absorb moisture. Even though evidence surfaced 45 years ago that talc might be connected with ovarian cancer, Johnson & Johnson decided that the claims weren’t strong enough to warn women of the possible risks.

Johnson’s Baby Powder has been used by consumers since 1894 to treat diaper rash, but parents are now abandoning the product in favor of safer, talc-free baby powders because of the connection between talc and ovarian cancer and infant lung problems.

Read more about baby products 7 Harmful Ingredients in Baby Care Products

Can I Sue Johnson & Johnson if I Have Ovarian Cancer?

Talcum powder cancer lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson have been making headlines since the first verdict was handed out in 2014. Because Johnson & Johnson specifically marketed their Shower-to-Shower and Baby Powder products to women for feminine hygiene – and because they knew about the possible risks associated with talc & ovarian cancer but chose not to include any warning labels on their products – Johnson & Johnson may be considered liable in certain situations. More than 2,400 cases have been brought against the brand resulting in four major verdicts totaling $307.6 million.

Even though juries are beginning to side with women, every case is different, and liability for talc-containing products may vary depending on a person’s use, the states where they live, and which products are used. If you believe that talcum powder products may have led to your cancer diagnosis, we can help connect you with an experienced and reliable attorney for a free consultation.

Get a free legal consultation.

Talc and Lung Cancer

Talc has also been implicated in a number of lung-related diseases and conditions, including lung cancer in miners and industrial workers. However, the results of various studies are conflicting, and the presence of impurities like asbestos could be a contributing factor. While lung cancer may be a risk, there is actually more evidence for other lung-related conditions, such as pulmonary talcosis, fibrosis, and granulomatosis.

Sterile talc powder is sometimes used to help treat or prevent pleural effusion, which is the buildup of fluid between the lungs and the chest wall. This effusion frequently occurs in lung cancer and lung-related cancers (like mesothelioma). The talc used in this application is free of asbestos.

Can inhaling talcum powder cause lung cancer?

On its own, inhaling talcum powder seems unlikely to lead directly to lung cancer. While some studies have shown that talc miners have an increased risk of developing lung cancer, other factors may be at play in the studies, such as the presence of radon (a major risk factor for lung cancer) or impurities like asbestos.

On the other hand, talcum powder contaminated with asbestos is definitely a risk factor for developing lung cancer. Asbestos itself is a known carcinogen and has been linked directly to lung cancer. Due to this link, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified talc containing asbestos as carcinogenic to humans.

Read about recent talc verdicts