So, should YOU shun the prod­uct used by mil­lions?

Daily Mail - - News - By Pat Ha­gan

BRI­TAIN spends an es­ti­mated £17mil­lion a year on prod­ucts con­tain­ing tal­cum pow­der, with up to 40 per cent of women reg­u­larly us­ing talc for hy­giene pur­poses.

But should they be wor­ried by sug­ges­tions its use is linked to ovar­ian cancer?

Talc is made from a soft min­eral called hy­drous mag­ne­sium sil­i­cate that is found through­out the world. It is crushed, dried and milled to pro­duce pow­der used in cos­metic prod­ucts.

Con­cerns over cancer were first raised in 1971 af­ter re­searchers at the Welsh Na­tional School of Medicine found talc par­ti­cles in sam­ples taken from ovar­ian tu­mours. Sub­se­quent re­search has sug­gested pow­der par­ti­cles ap­plied to the gen­i­tal area can travel into a woman’s body and trig­ger in­flam­ma­tion that may in turn cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment in which cancer cells can flour­ish.

A num­ber of stud­ies have shown a higher in­ci­dence of ovar­ian cancer among women who use talc for per­sonal hy­giene. Re­search pub­lished in Jan­uary in the jour­nal Epi­demi­ol­ogy con­cluded that ovar­ian cancer risk rose by 42 per cent if women had ap­plied talc to the gen­i­tal area more than 3,600 times in their life – the equiv­a­lent of every day for 10 years.

How­ever, the pic­ture was com­pli­cated by the fact that the study found talc use was linked with some types of ovar­ian tu­mours but not oth­ers, for no ob­vi­ous rea­son. Fur­ther­more, Paul Pharoah, pro­fes­sor of cancer epi­demi­ol­ogy at Cam­bridge Univer­sity, said a higher in­ci­dence does not prove that talc ac­tu­ally caused the tu­mours. ‘There is an as­so­ci­a­tion – but as­so­ci­a­tion is not the same as cau­sa­tion,’ he said.

The re­search so far also re­lies on women re­call­ing how of­ten they used talc over a pe­riod of many years, said Pro­fes­sor Pharoah, who has acted as a paid ad­viser to one of the law firms rep­re­sent­ing de­fen­dants John­son & John­son.

While he ac­knowl­edges that in­flam­ma­tion can be a trig­ger for cancer and talc is made up of par­ti­cles of min­eral that can cause it, ‘we have no way of re­ally know­ing how of­ten women used it or how much of the pow­der could have trav­elled into the ovaries’. He said: ‘The prob­a­bil­ity of talc use caus­ing a woman’s cancer is small. I don’t think women who use talc have any need to worry and I don’t ex­pect to see sim­i­lar le­gal ac­tion in the UK be­cause the courts here require a much higher level of proof.’

Dr Kavita Singh, a con­sul­tant gy­nae­col­o­gist at Spire Park­way Hospi­tal in Soli­hull, Birm­ing­ham, said while there is no proof talc causes ovar­ian cancer, she rec­om­mends women avoid us­ing it in in­ti­mate ar­eas. There have been no con­cerns about us­ing talc on other ar­eas of the body.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.