Studies on talc’s link to cancer are commonly grouped into two categories:
Lung Cancer Studies: Focus on whether people whose work required long-term exposure to and inhalation of natural talc fibers increases their risk for lung cancer. Some studies of talc miners and millers have suggested an increased risk of lung cancer and other respiratory diseases.
Ovarian Cancer Studies: Focus on whether women who routinely apply talcum powder to their genital area increases their risk of ovarian cancer. Some studies indicate that talcum powder might cause cancer in the ovaries if the powder particles (applied to the genital area or on sanitary napkins, diaphragms, or condoms) were to travel through the vagina, uterus, and fallopian tubes to the ovary.
What expert agencies say:
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)
As part of the World Health Organization (WHO), the IARC’s primary focus is to identify and categorize known causes of cancer. They have classified talc accordingly:
- Talc that contains asbestos is classified as “carcinogenic to humans.”
- When inhaled, non-asbestos containing talc is “not classifiable as to carcinogenicity in humans” based on the lack of data from human studies and on limited data in lab animal studies.
- The perineal (genital) use of talc-based body powder is classified as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” based on limited evidence from human studies.
US National Toxicology Program (NTP)
Formed from parts of several different government agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the NTP has not fully reviewed talc (with or without asbestos) as a possible carcinogen.
We hope you found this information helpful. Please visit our FAQ page for answers to other questions like, “Is talc carcinogenic?” McDonald Law Firm represents women who have developed ovarian or fallopian tube cancer after prolonged use of talcum powder for personal hygiene. The firm has created the site babypowdercancerrecovery.com as a resource for victims and their families. Contact the firm today if you or a loved one has developed cancer after routine use of a talc-based product.