Is Talcum Powder Dangerous?

Most of us will recognise the unmistakable white bottle that holds a widely trusted product – baby powder, or, talcum powder.

If it doesn’t stir up memories of powdering your baby’s behind, it could well ring a bell with most people as a way to dry off after a shower.

But this seemingly innocent product might not be as safe as we once thought, if recent allegations against the product and popular brand are to be believed.

Just recently, a woman in Virginia filed a lawsuit against the skincare brand, claiming that the talcum powder product had caused her cancer. 62-year-old Louis Slemp was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012, and it has now spread to her liver.

She eventually won the case, and on 6th May this year, was awarded a staggering R1.5 billion as a result.

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And hers isn’t the first claim of it’s kind against Johnson & Johnson. 2,000 women across America have also filed similar lawsuits against the same well-known company, claiming that extended use of the talcum-based products have lead to significant damage to their health.

In 2016, the family of Jackie Fox, who died of ovarian cancer after having used the baby powder for years, were also awarded around R880 million in damages.

According to Dr Dillner, writing for The Guardian, “There is a plausible mechanism by which talc could promote cancer – by triggering long-term inflammation. But since ovarian cancer is uncommon, the use of talc will only raise a small risk by a smallish amount (up to a third).

He continued, “There are stronger risks for ovarian cancer, such as genetic abnormalities, hormone replacement therapy and being overweight. Studies do not show a relationship between the amount of talc used and the likelihood of ovarian cancer – if there was a strong link they would do.”

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Dr Dillner summarised that it could be best to stay away, saying “But while talc may not be unsafe, a fluffy towel is safer. The popularity of talc is already waning and won’t be helped by more lawsuits.”

Disclaimer: The testimonials presented on this website are applicable to the individuals depicted only and may not be representative of the experience of others. The information provided within this site is strictly for the purposes of information only and is not a replacement or substitute for professional advice.

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