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Expert Testifies Before House Subcommittee Regarding Talc Use And Ovarian Cancer Link


A United States House of Representatives subcommittee, on March 12th, 2019, looked into whether they should give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the power to more strictly regulate cosmetics, including talcum powder and products containing talc.

The FDA issued a statement on March 5th, 2019 confirming the presence of asbestos in three cosmetic products which contain talc: Claire’s Eye Shadows, Claire’s Compact Powder and Claire’s Contour Palette. The Personal Care Products Safety Act was recently introduced before Congress by Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, and Susan Collins, R-Maine. It allows for more FDA regulation of personal care products.

Talc Use Linked To Ovarian Cancer Risk

Dr. Anne McTiernan of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center testified before the subcommittee, saying, “increasing the amount of exposure to talcum powder products in the genital area resulted in an increasing risk of developing epithelial ovarian cancer.” She detailed to the subcommittee how talc-containing baby powder can end up in the ovaries when it is applied in the perineal area.

Talcum Powder Ovarian Cancer Settlement

A Missouri state jury ruled in 2016 that Johnson & Johnson must pay $72 million to family members of a woman who used their Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products for decades and died from ovarian cancer. The son of deceased also testified before the subcommittee, saying, “I sincerely believe J&J took my mother’s life.”

 

How Long Have They Known That Talcum Powder Can Cause Cancer?

Studies going back more than fifty years have shown that applying talcum powder products to genital areas can result in the powder finding its way into a woman’s ovaries. However, in 1982, the first study was published that noted a heightened risk of ovarian cancer among users who applied talcum powder products to the genital area.

A Brief Timeline:

1961: Study reveals that external use of talc applied to the genital area can lead to the powder ending up in a woman’s ovaries.

1971: Study finds that some ovarian tumors contained talc.

1982: Study attributes a 92% increase in risk of ovarian cancer to the use of talc on the genital area.

1992: Study attributes a significant increase in ovarian cancer risk among talc users that applied talc products to the genital area via a sanitary napkin.

2011: Harvard researchers find a link between talc applied to the genital area and ovarian cancer.

Talcum Powder Lawsuit 2019

Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $4.69 billion to 22 ovarian cancer patients in July of 2018, and Johnson & Johnson is facing almost 12,000 talcum powder claims as of December 2018. Johnson & Johnson has lost eight talcum powder side effect trials as of November 2018, with $5.559 billion in total verdicts awarded. Many more talcum powder claims have yet to be filed. Talc powder users who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer may be eligible for financial compensation.

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