Some studies of talc miners and millers have suggested an increased risk of lung cancer and other respiratory diseases, while others have found no increase in lung cancer risk. These studies have been complicated by the fact that talc in its natural form can contain varying amounts of asbestos and other minerals, unlike the purified talc in consumer products. When working underground, miners can also be exposed to other substances that might affect lung cancer risk, such as radon.
Perhaps an even more serious danger, the tiny particles of talcum powder have been linked with an increased risk in cancer, particularly ovarian cancer, for women that have used it for feminine hygiene. The size of the particles means that it can easily enter the body and travel through the reproductive system to the ovaries, causing them to become irritated and inflamed. In early 2016 baby powder producer Johnson & Johnson were ordered to pay $51 million to the family of a woman who died of ovarian cancer, believed to have been caused by the company’s talcum powder.
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