What is talcum powder cancer?

Recently, there have been a number of people asking the same question: What is talcum powder cancer?

Here, we explain what talcum powder cancer refers to and the facts behind it.

Woman, late 20s hugging young son and patting a dog

What does talcum powder cancer refer to?

Talcum powder, also known as baby powder, is a powder made from talc. Talc is a mineral composed mainly of magnesium, silicon, and oxygen.

Talcum powder cancer refers to the potential link between the use of talcum powder and certain types of cancer. Particularly, the link to ovarian cancer and the link to mesothelioma.

The concern regarding talcum powder and cancer arises from the presence of asbestos in some natural talc deposits. Asbestos is a known carcinogen and its inhalation or ingestion can increase the risk of developing cancer, particularly lung cancer and mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart.

Although both ovarian cancer and mesothelioma have other causes, when it’s thought that talcum powder is the cause of one of these cancers, they’re referred to as talcum powder cancer.

What is a carcinogen?

A carcinogen is any substance, agent, or exposure that has the potential to cause or promote the development of cancer in living organisms. Carcinogens can be chemicals, physical agents, or biological agents that can directly damage DNA or disrupt cellular processes, leading to the uncontrolled growth of cells and the formation of tumours.

Carcinogens can be found in various forms, including:

Chemical carcinogens: These are substances that are either naturally occurring or synthetic chemicals known to have cancer-causing properties. Examples include asbestos, benzene, formaldehyde, tobacco smoke, certain pesticides, and certain industrial chemicals.

Physical carcinogens: These are agents or exposures of a physical nature that can cause cancer. Examples include ionising radiation, such as X-rays and gamma rays, ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning beds, and certain types of electromagnetic fields.

It’s important to note that exposure to a carcinogen doesn’t guarantee the development of cancer. Factors such as the duration and intensity of exposure, individual susceptibility, and genetic factors can influence the likelihood of cancer development.

To reduce the risk of cancer, it’s advisable to minimise exposure to known carcinogens, follow safety guidelines and regulations, practice healthy lifestyle choices, and undergo appropriate cancer screenings as recommended by healthcare professionals. Unfortunately, people have been unaware of the potential contamination of the asbestos carcinogen in talcum powder products. As a result, they may have gone on to develop a talcum powder cancer.

Why would an asbestos carcinogen be found in talcum powder?

Talc and asbestos are two distinct minerals, although they’re often found in close proximity due to their geological formations. When talc is mined, there’s a significant risk of cross-contamination, meaning asbestos mineral fibres may be collected through the mining of talc.

Talc mining is typically made up of the following steps:


Geological surveys and assessments are conducted to identify potential talc deposits. Various techniques, including remote sensing, core sampling, and drilling, may be employed to determine the presence and quality of talc.


Talc is typically extracted from open-pit mines. Initially, the overburden (the layer of rock and soil above the talc deposit) is removed using heavy machinery and explosives. This exposes the talc ore.


Once the talc ore is exposed, it’s extracted using specialised mining equipment. The ore is then crushed into smaller pieces and transported to a processing plant.


At the processing plant, the talc ore undergoes various stages of milling, sorting, and refinement. Grinding mills reduce the ore into fine particles, and separation techniques are employed to remove impurities and separate the talc from other minerals present.

Despite undergoing quality control procedures, we believe there’s still a significant risk that asbestos fibres have been present in talcum powder products. With the prolonged use of these products, there’s a high chance that this has caused many people to develop a talcum powder cancer.

How do you know if you’ve got talcum powder cancer?

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma or ovarian cancer and have used talcum powder products regularly for a number of years, you may have talcum powder cancer.

If you’ve been regularly using talcum powder and are concerned about potential health risks, it’s best to consult with a medical professional. They can evaluate your specific situation, consider your medical history, and provide you with the most accurate and personalised advice.

Some common signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer include:

  • Abdominal bloating or swelling
  • Pelvic pain or pressure
  • Changes in bowel or bladder habits
  • Feeling full quickly while eating
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Fatigue or low energy levels
  • Changes in menstruation or abnormal vaginal bleeding

Some common signs and symptoms of mesothelioma include:

  • Persistent chest pain in the lower back or side of the chest wall
  • Shortness of breath
  • Persistent cough
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Lumps and swelling
  • Abdominal pain and swelling

It’s important to note that these symptoms are not exclusive to talcum powder cancer and can be caused by other conditions. If you’re experiencing any persistent or concerning symptoms, it’s crucial to consult with your GP for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

infographic listing symptoms of mesothelioma and symptoms of ovarian cancer

Why would you claim compensation for talcum powder cancer?

Claiming compensation for talcum powder cancer is possible through the talcum powder claim. There are a number of reasons why this compensation claim is being pursued.

Product liability

Manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their products. We believe that some talcum powder products have been defectively manufactured, as they contained asbestos.


Manufacturers have a responsibility to exercise reasonable care in producing or marketing their products. We believe that some manufacturers failed to adequately test products or take appropriate action in light of scientific evidence.

Failure to warn

Manufacturers have a responsibility to warn consumers of any potential risks associated with the use of talcum powder. Unfortunately, manufacturers failed to warn consumers of the risk of developing a talcum powder cancer, so they could make informed decisions about whether to use the products.

Contact us

If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma or ovarian cancer and believe you have a talcum powder cancer, our specialists can help. 

To find out more about the talcum powder claim visit our talc FAQs page or click the button below to join the claim.