Does Baby Powder Cause Cancer? Jury Thinks So


A jury has awarded 62-year-old woman, Lois Slemp from Virginia, $110.5 million in the latest lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson baby powder. She alleged that it caused her ovarian cancer. This comes after a slew of lawsuits that already cost the company $197 million. So, does baby powder cause cancer? Some juries seem to think so.

Slemp was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012 and her cancer has spread to her liver. She was too ill to attend the trial, but she gave a deposition by audiotape, “I trusted Johnson & Johnson. Big mistake.” she said. She used the company’ s talcum products for 40 years.

One of Slemp’s attorneys, said Friday that she was “thrilled” when the verdict was reached and that she hoped it will “send a message.”

There are more than 3,000 lawsuits accusing the world’s largest health products company of ignoring studies linking its baby powder and talc products to ovarian cancer and failing to warn customers about the risk.

J&J will appeal Thursday’s verdict, said Carol Goodrich, a spokeswoman. “We are preparing for additional trials this year and will continue to defend the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder,’’ she said.

What is Baby Powder?

Talc is a mineral that is mined from deposits around the world and crushed into a white powder. It’s widely used for women personal care and cosmetics to absorb moisture. It also can be found in many other products such as plastic and paint.

Is It Causing Cancer?

At least, one jury in Missouri seems to think that there was a link between talcum products and ovarian cancer. Most major health groups have declared talc harmless. But the attorney cited case studies from the 70’s showing that women who regularly use talc on their genital area face up to a 40% higher risk of developing ovarian cancer. And, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies genital use of talc as “possibly carcinogenic.” 


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