New Study Ties Talc Use to Increased Risk of Ovarian Cancer in African-American Women

African-American women who regularly use talc-based baby powder are at greater risk for ovarian cancer compared to their peers who don’t use the products, according to a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Virginia. The report published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology found that the use of baby powder was associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer regardless of where the powder was regularly applied on the body. The study involved interviews with 584 black women with ovarian cancer and 745 black women without the disease from the Southern and Eastern United States. In the 1990s, Johnson & Johnson outlined a plan to hike flagging sales of its talcum powder products by targeting black and Hispanic women, according to a company memorandum made public in recent lawsuits leading to multimillion-dollar verdicts against the manufacturer.
It’s tragically apparent that for many years, Johnson & Johnson has ignored and suppressed the almost two dozen clinical studies that indicate a link between the use of talcum powder and ovarian cancer, says attorney Warren Burns of Dallas’ Burns Charest LLP. “This is just the latest evidence showing that African-American women have been effectively targeted through the company’s marketing, with a resulting increase in the disease.” The Burns Charest firm is currently accepting ovarian cancer cases against Johnson & Johnson on behalf of women and families, and maintains the talcumcausescancer.com website as a resource for news and information. So far this year, two juries have returned significant verdicts in liability and wrongful death claims against Johnson & Johnson for its actions in marketing the use of talc-based powders. There are currently more than 2,000 similar cases pending nationwide. In the past, African-American women have reported significantly higher use of so-called feminine hygiene products, including genital powder. A 2015 case-control study in Los Angeles found that 44 percent of African-American women reported using talcum powder, compared to 30 percent of white women and 29 percent of Hispanic women.

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