New Study Finds Douches, Talcum Powder Linked to Ovarian Cancer

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Public Health Watchdog Breaking News
Public Health Watchdog Breaking News

A study presented at the 27th International Nursing Research Congress on July 23, 2016 in Cape Town, South Africa suggests that women using talcum powder on their genital area, and women who douche, may be at increase risks for developing ovarian cancer.

The study lead was Sandra Cesario, Ph.D., from the Nelda C. Stark College of Nursing, Texas Woman’s University in Houston, Texas. The research involved 1274 woman from the age of 18 through 76 who completed an online survey, wrote FoodConsumer.org. Of these women, 553 were diagnosed with ovarian cancer, 91 were diagnosed with another type of cancer, and 630 women were not diagnosed with cancer.

The research revealed that women who used douches were likelier to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer when compared to woman who did not douche. A total of 33 percent of the woman who regularly douched developed cancer, compared to 22.4 percent of non-douching women; douching was also tied to a 34 percent increased risk for developing ovarian cancer, according to FoodConsumer.org. When genital baby powder use was combined with douching, risks for developing ovarian cancer was even greater.

Meanwhile, a motion has been recently filed with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) seeking centralization of all federally filed talcum powder ovarian cancer claims brought against Johnson & Johnson into one court. To date, litigation exceeds 1,200 cases. Consolidation is meant to better enable coordination of pretrial proceedings.

Women allege that J&J ignored research tying its Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder Shower-to-Shower powder products to ovarian cancer and neglected to warn its customers of these risks. According to court documents, some 11 product liability claims have been filed in 10 federal jurisdictions over the alleged talcum powder-ovarian cancer link and centralized litigations are underway in St. Louis, Missouri, and New Jersey Superior Court.

Plaintiffs in the talcum powder lawsuits currently pending in federal courts similarly allege that regular, repeated application of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower products to the female genital area may increase risks for developing ovarian cancer. Allegations also include that talc particles may travel into the vagina, migrating to the ovaries. The accumulating talc may lead to the type of inflammation that encourages cancer cells to grow.

A St. Louis jury recently ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $55 million in compensatory and punitive damages to a 62-year-old woman from South Dakota who was diagnosed with cancer in 2011 after using J&J’s talc-based hygiene products for nearly four decades. The woman underwent a hysterectomy, is now in remission, and alleges her ovarian cancer was due to her use of J&J’s talcum powder. In February 2016, J&J lost a $72 million verdict to the family of a woman who died of ovarian cancer, alleging J&J’s powder products were the culprits.