Canada’s National Public Health Agency Issues Warning on Talcum Powder Use

Health Canada finds science supports additional restrictions on talc-based products

OTTAWA, Canada – The national governmental agency responsible for public health in Canada has issued a report finding that the use of talc for genital hygiene may expose women to a greater risk of ovarian cancer.

Health Canada is issuing an informational letter on the respiratory and cancer dangers of talc use to all health care professionals, recommending they advise patients not to use talc in the genital area. The advisory notes that loose talc can be found in a wide array of products, including baby powder and deodorants as well as cosmetics, natural health products and non-prescription drugs.

The governmental action is based on a thorough analysis of scientific studies linking talc exposure to ovarian cancer and respiratory conditions such as fibrosis. The report notes that the Canadian Cancer Society identifies genital talc use as a possible risk factor, supported by numerous published studies reporting a small but significant association between ovarian cancer and perineal talc use.

In a news conference announcing the health advisory, Tolga Yalkin, Director General of Health Canada’s Consumer Product Safety Directorate, said that the government will consider a number of actions to further restrict talc use.

“Currently we have warnings on loose powder products intended for use with infants and children, and we’ll investigate adding additional warnings based on the scientific evidence,” Mr. Yalkin said.

“It is encouraging that the Canadian government is taking the lead in notifying medical professionals about the potential dangers of talc use,” said Ted Meadows, partner in the Beasley Allen law firm in Montgomery, Alabama. “Every organization responsible for public health and education about cancer needs to carefully examine how to make doctors and consumers more aware of the science and symptoms surrounding ovarian cancer.”

Mr. Meadows is a member of the legal team for an upcoming trial representing 12 women and their families who allege that perineal use of Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products caused their ovarian cancer. That trial is scheduled to begin on Jan. 22, 2019, in state district court in St. Louis.

Additional information on the Health Canada announcement can be found at

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