Canada: Talc Can Cause Ovarian Cancer

The Canadian government sees a connection between the frequency of ovarian cancer and exposure to talc. Accordingly, it plans to limit or completely forbid the use of the substance in many cosmetics. The government bases its decision on the Draft Screening Assessment that assesses talc.

The assessment is based on cases in which the use of cosmetics or pharmaceuticals caused talc to enter the body – either through inhalation or perineal exposure. According to the authorities, the data on human studies clearly indicates a causal connection. As a result, talc fulfills one of the toxicity criteria according to Section 64 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA). The substance was therefore included in the list of toxic chemicals and is subject to the rules of risk management.

Along with the Draft Screening Assessment, the government also published a Risk Management Scope that suggests measures for risk management.

Based in the United States, the Johnson & Johnson company has long denied the validity of studies now available. In the United States and Canada, several lawsuits filed by the parties concerned are pending, and U.S. courts have already awarded several damage claims against the company. J&J is appealing several of these decisions.

In response to a query from ChemicalWatch, a company spokesperson stated that the company continues to be convinced of the safety of cosmetic talc and wants to reply to the Canadian government within the consultation period.

The Canadian government published both documents (Draft Screening Assessment and Risk Management Scope) on December 8 in the Canada Gazette, thereby opening the 60-day comment period, which ends on February 7. The government wants to suggest an approach to risk management in winter 2020.

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