Talc is a natural mineral used throughout tons of consumer products, with the most well-known product being Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder. Many talcum powder products – including J&J Baby Powder – have been linked to ovarian cancer due to confirmed reports of asbestos contamination.

Ovarian cancer is one of the three types of cancers caused by Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder and other talcum powder products.

Talc products have also been known to cause mesothelioma and lung cancer. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer caused by asbestos exposure with no known cure.  

The discovery of the link between talc and asbestos has led countless consumers to wonder how talc causes ovarian cancer? 

When talc minerals are formed within the earth, they typically form near asbestos minerals. As talc is mined, there is a high chance of asbestos contamination and no way to detect it by sight or touch. The nearly invisible asbestos fibers can enter the consumer’s body by applying the talcum powder product directly to the skin. 

 

The Link Between Talc and Ovarian Cancer

Talc can be crushed into a white powder, more commonly known as talcum powder, to use as a key ingredient in body powder and other cosmetics. When talcum powder is applied to the groin area, it can absorb moisture and help prevent chafing. If the talc product contains asbestos, the cancer-causing particles can potentially enter the reproductive tract and travel to the ovaries, where the toxic fibers can cause inflammation and lead to the development of ovarian cancer.

According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization (WHO), asbestos-contaminated talc is considered “carcinogenic to humans.” 

The National Center for Health Research also reports that women who have used talcum powder – often or at some point in their lives – are about 30% more likely to develop ovarian cancer than women who have never used talc products. 

The link between talc and ovarian cancer is alarming, so it is important for women who use, or have used, talc products on a regular basis to be aware of the potential risks. Talcum powder is a common household product that is used by many people on a daily basis. It is important to be informed about the possible risks associated with its use and to take precautions to reduce your risk of developing ovarian cancer.

Talc is linked to ovarian cancer due to confirmed reports of asbestos contamination. If you have any concerns about talc and asbestos, contact our registered nurse, Karen Ritter, at karen@mesotheliomaguide.com. She can help answer your questions about possible asbestos exposure. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Talc and Ovarian Cancer

  • What does talcum powder do?
  • Talcum powder can be used for many purposes. The original intent behind talcum powder was to treat and prevent diaper rashes for babies. Adults began incorporating the use of talcum powder into their daily routines, using it as dry shampoo, mascara primer, post-wax or shaving pain relief, deodorant alternative, grease stain remover, chafing relief, musty odor remover in closets and drawers, shoe odor eliminator, and more.

  • Where does talcum powder come from?
  • Talc is a naturally occurring mineral found within the earth. It is largely mined throughout the southeastern United States with deposits in other parts of the country. Talc is primarily mined in the Appalachian Mountain range, which reaches across several U.S. states. The top talc-producing mines are in Virginia, North Caroline, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama.

  • How does talcum powder cause ovarian cancer?
  • Talcum powder is made of talc, which is often contaminated with asbestos. Exposure to asbestos in any capacity can lead to serious health problems. If talcum powder is applied to the groin area as a chafing relief, the dust produced can enter the reproductive tract and potentially travel to the ovaries. If the powder contains asbestos, the asbestos fibers can embed into the lining of the ovaries, causing inflammation and potentially ovarian cancer.

Sources & Author

  1. Talcum Powder & Ovarian Cancer. Drugwatch. Retrieved from: https://www.drugwatch.com/talcum-powder/ovarian-cancer/. Accessed: 08/03/22.
  2. Talcum Powder and Cancer. American Cancer Society. Retrieved from: https://www.cancer.org/healthy/cancer-causes/chemicals/talcum-powder-and-cancer.html#:~:text=Studies%20in%20people-,Ovarian%20cancer,fallopian%20tubes%20to%20the%20ovary.. Accessed: 08/03/22.
  3. Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer. National Center for Health Research. Retrieved from: https://www.center4research.org/talc-and-ovarian-cancer/. Accessed: 08/03/22.

Camryn Keeble image

About the Writer, Camryn Keeble

Camryn Keeble is the senior content writer and editor for Mesothelioma Guide. She creates mesothelioma-related content for the Mesothelioma Guide website. Camryn's goal is to decipher advanced information regarding mesothelioma into informative, simplified content to educate those affected by mesothelioma. She also works diligently to raise awareness of mesothelioma and its effects on patients and their loved ones.

    Sources & Author

Image of Camryn Keeble who is Mesothelioma Guide's senior content writer

About the Writer, Camryn Keeble

Camryn Keeble is the senior content writer and editor for Mesothelioma Guide. She creates mesothelioma-related content for the Mesothelioma Guide website. Camryn's goal is to decipher advanced information regarding mesothelioma into informative, simplified content to educate those affected by mesothelioma. She also works diligently to raise awareness of mesothelioma and its effects on patients and their loved ones.