Talcum powder has been a common household item for decades. It is packaged in many forms including baby powder, feminine hygiene powder, body and face powder. It is used to treat diaper rash, as a deodorant, to absorb moisture and reduce friction. It is a silky smooth powder, very versatile, and unless perfume is added it is odorless and inoffensive. However, talcum powder had been linked to respiratory problems in infants and ovarian cancer in women who have used it regularly for feminine hygiene.
What is Talcum Powder?
Talcum powder is made from a mineral called talc. The primary component is magnesium silicate. Talc is ground into a fine powder that is very soft, slippery and absorbent. It is used as the primary ingredient in baby powder, feminine hygiene products such as Johnson & Johnson’s Shower to Shower, and a multitude of cosmetic products.
Some talc naturally contains asbestos, which causes cancer, but since the 1970’s talc products containing asbestos have been banned in the U.S.
Talcum Powder Products and Uses
Talcum powder is used in many types of products and has many uses as a stand-alone ingredient. Examples include:
- Baby powder
- Face powder
- Body powder
- Feminine hygiene to reduce odor, moisture, and friction
- Foot powder
- Medicated powders
- Perfumed powders
- Addition to sanitary and incontinence pads
Talcum powder has been a basic household item for generations. It is inexpensive and it is used as a remedy for rashes and discomfort of all sorts.
Talcum Powder Not Recommended for Babies
As far back as 1969, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) warned that talcum powder posed a serious risk to babies. Babies could inhale the powder and develop acute or chronic lung disease and, at that time, there had been at least three reported fatalities. The AAP still advises against using baby powder because the tiny particles can be inhaled and dry out the mucous membrane, causing lung damage.
In some babies, pneumonia, respiratory failure, and death.
Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer
Numerous studies, more than 20, going back more than 40 years, support a link between the use of talcum powder for feminine hygiene and the development of ovarian cancer. Talcum powder products, such as Shower to Shower, are marketed as feminine hygiene products to reduce odor. Women also use baby powder for this purpose.
The studies indicate that when talcum powder is applied to the genital area, it can through the vagina, uterus, and fallopian tubes to the ovaries where, with long-term use, the particles can collect and cause irritation and inflammation, eventually resulting in cancer.
If you have questions about talcum powder or believe your cancer was caused by its use, call us toll-free at 800-DRUG-411 (800-378-4411) or email us. We will help you find answers to your questions and we can introduce you to an lawyer who represents people with talcum powder claims against Johnson & Johnson.