Medical Experts and Cancer Prevention Organizations Warn Consumers of Ovarian Cancer Risk from Talcum Powder Use

Numerous organizations have issued warnings regarding the risk of ovarian cancer connected with talcum powder use, yet FDA has never warned American consumers of the increased risk for ovarian cancer. The outcome of the first baby powder ovarian cancer lawsuit was settled in favor of the plaintiff, Deane Berg, when a federal jury found that Ms. Berg’s ovarian cancer was connected to her use of Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products. Despite this court decision, no official baby powder ovarian cancer warning statement has been issued by the FDA.

Cosmetic Industry and Regulatory Responses to Baby Powder Cancer Findings

In general, the cosmetic industry has denied the decades of research that indicate talcum baby powder causes cancer. As early as 1971, Johnson & Johnson’s medical director Dr. G.Y. Hildick-Smith argued against the suggestion that talc is carcinogenic. The company lost the first baby powder cancer lawsuit, continuing to insist the risk was insignificant. At the federal trial, a lawyer for the company allowed that executives were aware of baby powder cancer research from the start and deemed the risk too small to bother warning consumers. However, in 2002, Edward Kavanaugh, the president of the Cosmetic Toiletry and Fragrance Association, admitted that talc is a human carcinogen and that it can travel to the ovaries when applied to the perineal region.

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