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$110 Million Awarded To Virginia Woman Over Cancer Claims From Baby Powder, Talc Products [VIDEO]

Update Date: May 06, 2017 08:17 PM EDT
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Baby powder
Baby powder and talc have been the cause of many lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson. (Photo : Getty Images / Douglas Grundy)

A Missouri court ruled in favor of a woman from Virginia who sued Johnson & Johnson (J&J) over claims that the talc in its baby powder product caused her ovarian cancer. The court also ordered the company to pay her $110 million.

How Did The Woman Get Cancer?

Lois Slemp had used the Johnson & Johnson baby powder and the talc-based Shower to Shower femine hygiene product for over 40 years before she was diagnosed with cancer. Slemp and more than 3,000 women are suing J&J because of claims that the company is ignoring scientific studies that linked its talc-based products to ovarian cancer and its failure to issue appropriate warnings to those who use them, Bloomberg reported.

Talc is the softest mineral and has been widely used in cosmetics, baby powder, and personal care products because of its high absorption capability. The mineral is also utilized for other industrial uses like paints and plastic products. In 2006, the International Agency for Research on Cancer had identified talc as a possible carcinogen and a possible cancer risk factor.

Is Talc Really To Blame?

But large studies that aim to find the link between talc, baby powder and cancer have been unable to do so. Factors that cause the ovarian cancer that Slemp was suing J&J for only include age, use of estrogen therapy after menopause, certain genetic mutations, or family history of the disease. There is no proof that when the baby powder and other talc-based products for feminine hygiene were used, the products reacted to other chemicals, alter cells, or travel up the reproductive tract, New York Daily News reported.

Court Decision About Case

The jurors in this case believed otherwise. J&J is the largest health-care product company in the world and should have performed due diligence in informing their consumers of the studies linking talc to ovarian cancer.

It has been a mixed lot for the healthcare giant. The Missouri case is one of the cases where J&J lost and has paid up a total of over $300 million in settlements since 2016. Other cases have been thrown out in favor of the company over lack of reliable evidence.

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