In 1982, Harvard professor Dr. Daniel W. Cramer and his colleagues studied 430 women, half with ovarian cancer and half given a clean bill of health. They found that women who used talcum powder nearly doubled their risk of having ovarian cancer compared to women who did not use talcum powder. The risk nearly tripled for women who used talcum powder regularly on their genitals and sanitary pads.
Other studies have shown that talc particles can move into the peritoneal cavity and embed themselves into the ovaries. A 1991 study by Welsh scientists discovered talc embedded directly within ovarian and cervical cancers. Although talcum powder is marketed as a soothing agent, talc can in fact cause inflammation, which is an important part in the development of ovarian cancer.
In 2006, the International Agency for Research on Cancer went so far as to classify talcum powder as a possible carcinogen if used in the female genital area.
British dermatologist Miriam Stoppard doesn’t recommend talcum powder usage for women or infants, citing its ability to irritate the skin by gathering in skin creases. Babies’ delicate skin is even more vulnerable to damage. Talcum powder’s possible link to ovarian cancer is yet another reason to exercise caution when considering using talcum powder for feminine hygiene.