40 published epidemiologic studies have examined the link between genital talc use by women and ovarian cancer since the 1980s.
With surprising consistency, rigorous research by some of the most respected scientists and medical experts in the world have documented strong links between talc and ovarian cancer. These findings have remained consistent over time, across many patient populations, and study types. Talcum powder contains known carcinogens such as asbestos, fibrous talc, chromium, and nickel.
- Penninkilampi et al. 2018: Penninkilampi and Eslick (2018) performed another meta-analysis of the studies in women exposed to talc through perineal dusting with talc body powders and reported that “there is a consistent association between perineal talc use and ovarian cancer”
- Saed, et al. (2019) –Johnson’s Baby Powder caused a significant dose-dependent increase in prooxidants with a concomitant decrease in antioxidants and resulted in a significant increase in inflammation. “These findings are the first to confirm the cellular effect of talc and provide a molecular mechanism to previous reports linking genital use to increased ovarian cancer risk.”
- In December of 2018 Health Canada completed a screening assessment of talc that included a meta-analysis conducted by Taher et al. , their conclusion was that perineal use of talc powder is a possible cause of ovarian cancer based on a review of the 27 epidemiological studies published at this time Additionally, this study showed “a positive association between perineal use of talc powder and ovarian cancer was found [OR: 1.28 (95% CI: 1.20 – 1.37)]. A significant risk was noted in Hispanics and Whites, in women applying talc to underwear, in pre-menopausal women and in post-menopausal women receiving hormonal therapy. A negative association was noted with tubal ligation.”
- World Ovarian Cancer Coalition Study finds that two-thirds of the women surveyed did not even know about ovarian cancer before being diagnosed with the deadly disease.
- Cramer et al. 2016: Perineal talc use was associated with a 33 percent increase in ovarian cancer risk. This study also found increased risk of ovarian cancer with prolonged talc exposure over time.
- Terry et al. 2013: the most recent meta-analysis – compiled 20 to 30 years of data and found a significant causation link between talc applications and ovarian cancer.
- Cramer et al. 2007: Study involving a 68-year-old woman with talc found in her pelvic lymph nodes, demonstrating the inflammatory reactions of talc exposure in the lower genital tract and support the concept of talc migration following repeated external application.
- Mills et al. 2004: Women who used genital talc had a 51 percent elevated risk for invasive epithelial ovarian cancer.
- Woolen & Smith-Bindman et al. 2022: Suggests an increased risk of ovarian cancer associated with frequent perineal powder exposure of 31-65%
Addressing skeptics in the medical community.
To those who would deny that there’s a conclusive link between the use of talcum powder and ovarian cancer – look at the literature – it’s all there.
- Ness et al. 2000: Women who applied talc to genital areas at least once per month for six or more months had a 50 percent increase in ovarian cancer risk and a 60 percent increase in risk when talc was applied to sanitary napkins.
- Cramer 1999: Genital use of talc powder yielded a 60 percent increase in cancer risk and a 70 percent increase for serious invasive ovarian cancer. This study also found that increased applications of talc resulted in higher cancer risk and prompted a call by the authors for public health warnings about talc dangers. This study also attributed 10% of all ovarian cancers in the US to talcum powder usage.
- Cook et al. 1997: Direct perineal use of talc powder yielded a 60 percent increase in risk of ovarian cancer diagnosis. The study revealed a trend in which more lifetime applications of talc led to a higher cancer risk.
- Harlow et al. 1992: Combined results from six case control studies between 1982 and 1989 and found that ovarian cancer risk was 50 percent greater for women who applied genital talc. The research also found that as lifetime talc dose increased, so did ovarian cancer risk.
- Cramer et al. 1982: Possibly the first definitive case-control study, involving 430 women, that provided support for an association between talc and ovarian cancer.
- In addition, a 2008 meta-analysis on behalf of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reviewed all prior epidemiologic studies and identified eight studies with the best methodologies. These well-designed studies all found that talc users were significantly more likely to develop ovarian cancer with more talc applications. This meta-analysis found the increased risk of talc use associated with ovarian cancer falls squarely in the range of 30 to 60 percent and likely around 40 percent. Based on this study, the IARC concluded that talc is a “possible carcinogen.”
- Even research funded by Johnson & Johnson (Gross & Berg 1995 and Huncharek 2003) has found statistically significant cancer risks associated with genital talc use.
“A ‘real’ statistically significant association has been undeniably established.”– Dr. Bernard Harlow Leading ovarian cancer researcher from Harvard Medical School