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Death Linked to Talcum Powder Results in $72 Million Verdict for Woman’s Family
If you ever stop to think about talcum powder, you probably associate it with helping to soothe a baby’s chafing or maybe even its connection to cosmetics. The last thing you would probably think about would be ovarian cancer.
But the link exists.
On Feb. 24, Reuters News reported that a Missouri jury awarded $72 million in damages to the family of a woman who used Johnson & Johnson baby powder as well as the company’s Shower to Shower products for years, and ultimately died from the disease. The family of Jacqueline Fox was awarded $10 million in actual damages and $62 in punitive damage. According to the Reuters article, this is the first time a U.S. jury has awarded damages in this type of claim.
Solid Scientific Evidence
Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder and Shower to Shower products both contain talc, which has been linked to an increased risk of ovarian cancer in women who use talc-based products for feminine hygiene. Fox said she used the products for this purpose for more than 35 years.
According to the American Cancer Society, the use of talcum powder can lead to ovarian cancer if particles of the powder travel to the ovaries through the vagina, uterus and fallopian tubes. Some research, the Society reports, suggests women are at a slightly increased risk while other studies show no increased risk. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies the genital use of talc-based baby powder as a possible human carcinogen.
More to Come
Reuters reported that the pharmaceutical giant not only faces nearly 1,000 cases in Missouri, it faces nearly 200 more in New Jersey. Plaintiffs in these cases are claiming that Johnson & Johnson failed to warn consumers that they could be at an increased risk of cancer if they used talc-based products.
In the case of Mrs. Fox, the jury found Johnson & Johnson liable for committing conspiracy, fraud and negligence. One of the family’s lawyers claimed that the company knew talcum powder was a risk as early as the 1980s, yet chose to lie to the public and regulatory agencies.