Does Baby Powder Cause Cancer?
Talc is a common mineral found in rocks such as soapstone and is used in a wide variety of industries. However most people know it as talc powder, or baby powder.
Recently suspicions have been raised that its use around the genital area of females contributes to ovarian cancer. It has also been linked to certain cancers to the lungs, similar to mesothelioma from asbestos.
In Hogans et al. v. Johnson & Johnson et al., No. 1422-CC09012 (22d Cir. Ct. Mo. February 23, 2016), a St. Louis jury linked ovarian cancer to the use of talcum powder for the first time in the United States and awarded actual and punitive damages ($10 mil / $62 mil respectively) to the family of an Alabama woman who died from ovarian cancer.
Johnson & Johnson argues that consumer talc products have been required to be asbestos-free since the 1970’s. They also argue that the Center for Disease Control has not identified talc as a risk for ovarian cancer. Also that the two most widely accepted studies that followed a number of women for a significant length of time found no connection between baby powder use and ovarian cancer.
The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel conducted an extensive review of all the talc safety data and concluded that “talc is safe in the present practices of use” and there has been very little new data provided to change the Panel’s current assessment. Ultimately a number of other research studies have showed mixed results.
There are over 13,000 other baby powder-related lawsuits pending currently.
One of the most recent verdicts to be handed down to Johnson & Johnson is $29 million awarded to a woman who lives in California that used Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder for a number of years and developed mesothelioma as a result.
This latest verdict is the 7th trial loss of the worlds largest maker of healthcare products over claims that the corporation hid the risks of its product for more than 50 years!
One of the larger verdicts the company has been ordered to pay out thus far was for over $4.5 billion in damages to 22 women that developed cancer linked to using baby powder.
There are still over 24 different trials scheduled for this year.