For generations, talcum powder has been a household fixture. Talcum powder, commonly referred to as baby powder, has been used in American bathrooms and nurseries as a mechanism to soothe skin irritation, absorb moisture, and reduce odor. Johnson & Johnson started selling Baby Powder over 100 years ago labeling it for nursery and bathroom use.
There has been talking for decades about the potential risks of using talcum powder. Surprisingly, not until very recently have these risks been confirmed.
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What Is Talcum Powder?
Talcum powder is made from talc, which is a mineral made up of the elements magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. In its common powder form, it is useful for keeping skin dry and preventing rashes. It has been widely used by adults, specifically, women, who use the powder to dust their private parts as a way to stay cool, comfortable and free of odor.
How Is Talc Related to Ovarian Cancer?
Recent studies have suggested that talcum powder can cause cancer in the ovaries if the powder particles that have been applied to the genital area were to travel through the uterus and fallopian tubes to the ovaries.
The medical journal Cancer Prevention Research published a study in June 2013 that showed that women who regularly used talcum powder or baby powder for feminine hygiene had a 20% to 30% greater risk of developing ovarian cancer than women who do not use talc products for feminine hygiene. In fact, recent studies show that the odds of a woman in the U.S. falling ill with ovarian cancer are 1 in 70. The use of Talc increases these odds to 1 in 53.