More than 20 epidemiologic studies show an association between talc powder (baby powder) use in the genital area and ovarian cancer.

Talcum Powder Linked to Ovarian Cancer

Talcum powder dusted on the genital area may reach the ovaries.  The International Agency for Research on Cancer has concluded that perineal talc is a possible carcinogen.  Several studies conducted over the past 25 years have found an association between perineal talc powders and ovarian cancer.  In fact, case-control studies found premenopausal women were 2-3 times more likely to develop ovarian cancer when using powders or feminine hygiene products containing talc, compared to women with no use.

Stage I
Growth limited to ovaries
5,559Patients Treated
87.5%Survival 3Yr
82.1%Survival 5Yr
Growth limited to one ovary, no ascites, no tumour on external surface, capsule intact.
Growth limited to both ovaries, no ascites, no tumour on external surface, capsule intact.
Tumour either stage Ia or Ib, but with tumour on one or both ovaries, with capsule ruptured, with ascites present containing malignant cells, or with positive peritoneal washings.
Stage II
Growth involving one or both ovaries with pelvic extension
3,364Patients Treated
72.1%Survival 3Yr
64.5%Survival 5Yr
Extension and/or metastases to the uterus and/or tubes.
Extension to other pelvic tissues.
Tumour either stage IIa or IIb, with tumour on the surface of one or both ovaries, but with capsule(s) ruptured, with ascites present containing malignant cells, or with positive peritoneal washings.
Stage III
Tumour involving one or both ovaries with peritoneal implants outside the pelvis and/or positive retroperitoneal or inguinal nodes. Superficial liver metastases equal stage III. Tumour limited to the true pelvis but with histologically proven malignant extension to small bowel or omentum.
2,530Patients Treated
47.0%Survival 3Yr
38.1%Survival 5Yr
Tumour grossly limited to the true pelvis with negative nodes but with histologically confirmed microscopic seeding of abdominal peritoneal surfaces.
Tumour involving one or both ovaries with histologically confirmed implants of abdominal peritoneal surfaces, none exceeding 2cm in diameter. Nodes are negative.
Abdominal implants >2cm in diameter and/or positive retroperitoneal or inguinal nodes.
Stage IV
Growth involving one or both ovaries with distant metastases.
492Patients Treated
20.7%Survival 3Yr
14.0%Survival 5Yr


How Does Talcum Powder Cause Ovarian Cancer?

Talcum powder consists of small particles of talc, these small particles can become trapped in the body. This can cause the body to develop inflammation, which in turn can cause the body to develop ovarian cancer cells where the talc powder was trapped in the ovaries or other local tissue. Baby powder is made of talc and baby powder can cause ovarian cancer in the same way.


Women’s Use of Talcum Powder

Johnson & Johnson and other manufacturers heavily marketed talc-based body powders and feminine hygiene products to women as preventing foul vaginal odors.  Women commonly applied these products directly to their vaginal area or onto sanitary pads and underwear.   However, studies have shown that when these products are used on the genitals, the talc particles travel through the vagina and into the ovaries, where they remain trapped for years and cause inflammation.  This may lead to the growth of ovarian cancer cells.

Alternatives to Talc Body Powder

Studies dating back to the 1960’s show Talcum powder can lead to ovarian cancer. Talc body powder can be substituted with arrowroot powder, chickpea powder, baking soda, corn flour, cornstarch, rice flour, or oat flour.  These ingredients can be found at local grocery stores.  You might already have some of these items at home. Consider alternatives to Talcum powder or talcum containing baby powder.

Studies Linking Talcum Powder to Ovarian Cancer

1982:   Daniel W. Cramer, MD., studied 256 cases from November 1978- September 1981. He had the theory Talcum powder amplifies the risk of Ovarian cancer and his data corroborated this theory.  He found 215 women with epithelial cancers and 39 women with malignant tumors.  Dr. Cramer concluded, when Talcum powder is applied to women genitalia, the risk of ovarian cancer doubled.

1992:   Dr. Bernard Harlow, of the Harvard Medical School, published a study in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.  After interviewing 235 women, Dr. Harlow discovered there was a three-fold increase of ovarian cancer when Talcum Powder was dusted on every day. An increase in the incident rate of a cancer as exposure increases is known as dose-response, and is a sign of causation that baby powder causes cancer.

1982-1999: Levin Simes has gathered large studies from 1980-1998 (200 or more users). These studies consistently showed an increase in ovarian cancer among populations exposed to talcum powder. These studies show a 120% to 200% risk for ovarian cancer among talc users. See the table below:


1999:   Dr. Cramer published a second report with many other co-authors. The report stated it’s plausible up to 10% of ovarian cancers are caused by Talc.

2013:  The American Association for cancer research published a study that analyzed 8,525 cases and 9,859 controls of ovarian cancer where it was thought the Talcum powder increased the cancer.  The study found frequent Talcum powder users have a higher risk of ovarian cancer. The women who never used Talcum powder had no increased risk.

No Warning

Johnson and Johnson is not the only manufacturer of talcum and baby powder.  NIVEA, Gold Band Body Powder, Avon, and Ponds all manufacture talcum or baby powder products . None of these manufacturers label their products with appropriate warnings about increased risk of ovarian cancer. Women can use talcum powder regularly for decades without knowing there is a risk.   When talcum powder is applied to the perineal area, talc particles travel through the woman’s reproductive system and eventually reach the ovaries.  When talc arrives at the ovaries, it causes cancer cells to thrive.

There is significant evidence, dating back to the 1990’s, Johnson and Johnson knew talcum powder was harmful. Over 20 epidemiological studies showing a correlation between talcum powder and ovarian cancer have been published.  Throughout the 1990’s,  researchers sent Johnson and Johnson letters stating talc can cause cancer cells in the ovaries. In 1994, Johnson and Johnson made the decision not to label talcum powder because they said there was not enough evidence. Yet by this time, multiple studies had been published showing consistent links between usage and ovarian cancer.

Talcum Powder Lawsuit

Speak with an experienced lawyer at Levin Simes for a free case consultation to learn more about the dangers of talcum powder and how to file a ovarian cancer lawsuit.  Levin Simes is a nationally recognized law firm and is currently accepting talcum powder related ovarian cancer cases in all 50 states.

If you or a loved one was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and used talcum powder, contact our lawyers immediately using the form on this page. We can investigate a baby powder lawsuit on your behalf if you were injured by talc baby powder products. You may also call us toll free at 1-888-426-4156, 24 hours a day, or email us at

Talcum Powder Lawsuit Verdict – $72 million

Johnson & Johnson was found liable for $10 million in damages and an additional $62 million in punitive damages for the cancer and death of Ms. Fox, a decades long user of their talcum powder products.  The total verdict from the baby powder lawsuit was $72 million. The jury verdict found Johnson & Johnson culpable in failing for years to warn consumers about the risk of talc-based products and their link to ovarian cancer.

Talcum Powder Lawsuit Verdict – $55 million

On May 2nd, 2016 a jury found Johnson & Johnson liable for $5 million in damages and $50 million in punitive damages. This verdict was after the jury heard the case of a women who used talcum powder for 40 years without receiving any warning to the danger. She required a hysterectomy during her treatment for cancer.

Talcum Powder Lawsuit Verdict – $70 million

A St. Louis jury found against Johnson & Johnson for $2.5 million in damages, and $65 million in punitive damages.  Imergys Talc America was also found liable for damages, an additional $2.5 million bringing the total verdict to $70 million.  The plaintiff had used talcum powder for over 4 decades for feminine hygiene.

Levin Simes has Recovered $500 Million on Behalf of its Clients

Our firm works on a Contingency Fee basis. That means that we do not get paid unless you do and there is no hourly charge for our legal services.  With our experienced attorneys and financial resources, you can be assured that Levin Simes will fight to obtain the compensation you deserve.

Contact our firm about talcum powder related ovarian cancer quickly to make sure the statute of limitations does not run out in your state. Call Levin Simes at 1-888-426-4156 today.

Image: Didier Descouens, own work.


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