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Baby Powder Causes Cancer? Jury Awards Ill Woman $110.5 million

Baby Powder Causes Cancer? Jury Awards Ill Woman $110.5 million

A popular product that you likely have in your medicine cabinet and use regularly may cause cancer.

Three juries have found that Johnson’s Baby Powder — also known as talcum powder — causes ovarian cancer.

The latest ruling was for Lois Slemp, who received $110.5 million in a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson. Jurors in St. Louis determined that 40 years of talcum powder use gave Slemp cancer.

“I trusted Johnson & Johnson. Big mistake,” Slemp told jurors in a taped disposition, according to AP.

Slemp was too ill to attend the trial or speak to reporters, said her attorney, Jim Onder. She developed ovarian cancer that spread to her liver after using Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for feminine hygiene for 40 years.

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Research cited by Onder and his associates at the trial claimed that exposure to talc — an ingredient in baby or talcum powder — increases a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer by 40 percent. Talc has been sold by companies like Johnson & Johnson for more than 120 years – since 1894.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer labeled talc a possible carcinogenic (cancer-causing agent). Researchers are not sure how talc causes cancer, but studies linking it to the disease go back to the 1970s, AP said.

baby powder -- flickr - creative commonsAround 22,400 American women develop ovarian cancer every year, according to the American Cancer Society. Most of those women, around 14,080, will die of the disease.

“My advice has always been not to use talc on a regular basis in the genital area, and I haven’t changed that opinion for 30 years,” Dr. Daniel Cramer of Brigham and Women’s Hospital told CBS News. Cramer has testified in talcum powder lawsuits.

More Lawsuits Coming

This is the third time a jury has found that talc causes cancer. A jury awarded Gloria Ristesund $55 million in another case in May 2016.

Talc was found in Risesund’s ovarian tissue, attorney Ted Meadows told CBS News.

“There are studies that go back decades showing that genital use of talcum powder increases the risk of ovarian cancer,” Meadows said.

Another jury awarded Deborah Giannecchini $70 million in September 2016. Jurors found that Johnson & Johnson and a supplier named Imerys Talc were negligent in the manufacturing and marketing of talcum powder products.

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