Using Johnson & Johnson baby powder for feminine hygiene can lead to ovarian cancer according to a jury in St. Louis.
This week a St. Louis jury awarded $110.5 million to Lois Slemp of Wise, Virginia. Ms. Slemp was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012 and blamed her illness on her use of J&J’s talcum powder for more than 40 years.
This was the fourth jury verdict in the past year awarding more than $50 million in damages each to women who made similar claims. Johnson and Johnson are appealing the verdicts, but science may be working against the company.
The American Cancer Society outlined the issue:
Talcum powder is made from talc; a mineral made up mainly of the elements magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. As a powder, it absorbs moisture well and helps cut down on friction, making it useful for keeping skin dry and helping to prevent rashes. It is widely used in cosmetic products such as baby powder and adult body and facial powders, as well as in a number of other consumer products.
When talking about whether or not talcum powder is linked to cancer, it is important to distinguish between talc that contains asbestos and talc that is asbestos-free. Talc that has asbestos is generally accepted as being able to cause cancer if it is inhaled.
The bottom line would seem to suggest that using baby powder around the genitals or rectum may not be a good practice to continue.