“Baby Powder’s Questionable Link to Ovarian Cancer”

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) was ordered by a Missouri jury to pay over $110 million to a Virginia woman who says she developed ovarian cancer after decades of using of its talc-based products for feminine hygiene. The verdict in state court in St. Louis was the largest so far to arise out of 2,400 lawsuits accusing J&J of not adequately warning consumers about the cancer risks of talc-based products including its well-known Johnson’s Baby Powder. Talc deposits are often located near asbestos ore, a carcinogen. But, all talcum products used in homes in the United States have been asbestos-free since the 1970s. Talc absorbs moisture well and is widely used in cosmetic products such as baby powder and adult body and facial powders. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), in most cases neither lab studies nor studies in people provide enough evidence to prove cancer causation. In 2003, a meta-analysis of 16 studies and 11,933 participants found that an increase in ovarian cancer risk was associated with the use of talc, but did not find a causal link.

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