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Talcum Powder’s Link to Ovarian Cancer

February 8, 2017 · FLEMING | NOLEN | JEZ, L.L.P.

Many people use the clay mineral talc as an absorbent product—it keeps things dry. One of the most common talc-based products is talcum powder, commonly used in baby powder and various cosmetics. Before the 1970s, people were unaware of the link between asbestos and cancer. The talc mined for talcum powder during this time was therefore not separated from any asbestos deposits, allowing the dangerous substance to be used in households across the United States.

Once the danger had been identified, talc used in everyday products was sifted to remove the asbestos. All talcum powder today should be asbestos-free. However, while extensive studies have shown the link between asbestos-containing products and cancer, fewer studies focus on the long-term effects of using asbestos-free talcum powder. Many who used it prior to the 1970s were also still in danger of developing cancer, having been exposed to the product over time.

Uses and Dangers

Talcum powder became a staple in the American household, particularly as it was marketed as a hygienic product. It was supposed to make you feel and smell fresh. This advertising was also directed toward women, who would often apply it to their underwear, sanitary napkins, and vaginal area. Scientists have theorized that ovarian cancer could have been caused by particles of asbestos-contaminated talcum powder traveling to the ovaries through the vagina, uterus, and fallopian tubes. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has also labeled talc containing asbestos “carcinogenic,” meaning that it either causes cancer or helps cancer to form.

What to Look For

If you are a woman who was exposed to talcum powder-containing asbestos, consult your doctor. Pay particular attention to your abdominal area. Some of the following symptoms may indicate ovarian cancer:

  1. Bloating
  2. Abdominal or pelvic pain
  3. Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
  4. Frequent urination or the feeling of needing to urinate often

These symptoms are often long-lasting and should be different from your body’s normal behavior. If you have any doubts about your health, see your doctor. You can also visit the American Cancer Society website for more information.

If you find yourself needing legal counsel for any mesothelioma (asbestos-related caner) acquired as a result of talcum powder use, contact our Houston personal injury attorneys at Fleming | Nolen | Jez, L.L.P for a free consultation.