Women who use talcum powder every day are 40 per cent more likely to develop ovarian cancer, according to a new study.
According to researchers, powder particles applied to the private parts may travel to the ovaries and trigger a process of inflammation that allows cancer cells to flourish.
To reach the conclusion, experts from Harvard Medical School in Boston studied more than 3,000 women, reports the Daily Mail.
They discovered using talc just once a week raised the risk of cancer by 36 per cent, rising to 41 per cent for those applying powder every day.
The study also revealed that the risks were greater still for those with a certain genetic profile.
Talc is made from a soft mineral called hydrous magnesium silicate, which is found throughout the world.
It is crushed, dried and milled to produce powder used in cosmetic products by millions. Some experts say it has chemical similarities to asbestos, which can cause a deadly form of lung cancer.
The study has been published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.
And the research applies only to talcum powder used around the private parts, not on the rest of the body, said the team.
Dr Maggie Gates, who led the study, said that until the outcome of further research women should avoid using talc in the genital area.