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Does talcum powder cause cancer?

You may have already seen advertisements or heard a news story in New York about a large company facing lawsuits over talcum powder. You may even know that this company has lost billions of dollars in judgments over these lawsuits. However, there is a lot of misunderstanding about the basis of the lawsuits and why women were suing the company.

MedPage Today explains that while the claims may be that talcum powder sold by the business caused ovarian cancer, the reason the women won was because of the organization’s failure to disclose the possibility that the talcum powder contained asbestos. It is slightly confusing, but primarily, it comes down to a company that did not tell its consumers that its product may contain a known cancer-causing ingredient.

The truth about talcum powder

The American Cancer Society explains that talc is a substance made of oxygen, silicon, magnesium and asbestos. However, in 1976, guidelines set for products in the United States stated they must be free of detectable levels of asbestos. This is not, however, a law. Instead, it is an industry guideline.

Asbestos and cancer

Asbestos causes cancer in the lungs when inhaled. Scientific research backs as well as proves this claim. However, research on whether asbestos in talcum powder could cause ovarian cancer or any type of female cancer is not conclusive. Studies have shown mixed results without providing definitive proof.

For this reason, the lawsuits could not base arguments on the talcum powder causing cancer. This is why the legal argument was instead based on the failure to disclose information.

In any event, because talc naturally contains asbestos, there is always a chance that it will be present in talcum powder. Companies selling this product should, based on these court cases, provide a warning on the product containers to ensure that they know it could contain cancer-causing asbestos.

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