Talcum powder is composed of talc. Talc is a naturally occurring, soft mineral. In powder form, talc absorbs moisture and reduces friction.
Because of talc’s properties, it has been used in consumer products to keep skin dry and prevent irritation. Talcum powder has been used in many consumer products, including cosmetics, foot powders, deodorant powders, baby powders, and adult body powders.
Talcum Powder and Feminine Products
Over the years, many women have used talcum powder products for both personal hygiene and cosmetics. Talcum powder became a common ingredient in feminine hygiene products. Yet, Talcum powder’s use as a feminine hygiene product may have placed many women at risk of serious personal injury.
Talcum Powder and Cancer Risks
For decades, researchers in the medical industry have suspected a relationship between talcum powder use and ovarian cancer in the female reproductive system. Studies as early as 1971 suggested the relationship between talcum powder and cancer. Research even found talcum embedded in a substantial percentage of ovarian tumors studied.
Although numerous studies in the years since 1971 indicated an increased risk between female talcum powder use and ovarian cancer, product manufacturers disregarded the research as not conclusive. Talcum powder product manufacturers never warned of these serious issues. Instead, talcum powder manufacturers continued to market their products as safe and effective.
In 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) noted “perineal use of talc-based baby powder is possibly carcinogenic to humans.” In June 2013, the journal Cancer Prevention Research published a study indicating women who use talcum powder as a feminine hygiene product may have a 20%-30% increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.