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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2000 Mar;182(3):720-4.

Perineal application of talc and cornstarch powders: evaluation of ovarian cancer risk.

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  • 1Toxicology and Risk Assessment Program, Division of Pathology and Toxicology, American Health Foundation, Valhalla, NY 10595, USA.


Some epidemiologic studies have reported associations between perineal talc exposure and epithelial ovarian cancer, which raises parallel questions about the consequences of perineal exposure to cornstarch. Cornstarch powder is an alternative to talc powder that by its nature is a completely different substance. In this review of the literature the epidemiologic data on ovarian cancer risk and perineal application of both powders are reviewed, and the chemical natures of the two powders are compared. All available data indicate that whereas associations between talc exposure and ovarian cancer have suggested but not proved a casual relationship, the application of perineal powder containing cornstarch exclusively is not predicted to be a risk factor for ovarian cancer.

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