Its been a routine for women to dust their private parts, underwear and sanitary napkins with talcum powder. It is a practice associated with cleanliness and freshness.
Some people may sprinkle on powder after showering and never think much of it. But recent court cases have shined a spotlight on the possible link between women’s regular use of talcum powder on their genitals and an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Talcum powder is made from talc, a mineral made up mainly of the elements magnesium, silicon, and oxygen.
As a powder, it absorbs moisture well and helps cut down on friction, making it useful for keeping skin dry and helping to prevent rashes.
It is widely used in cosmetic products such as baby powder and adult body and facial powders, as well as in a number of other consumer products.
It has been suggested 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.
For any individual woman, if there is an increased risk, the overall increase is likely to very be small. Still, talc is widely used in many products, so it is important to determine if the increased risk is real.