News World Woman says baby powder caused cancer, awarded $A92m

Woman says baby powder caused cancer, awarded $A92m

talcum powder lawsuit
Talcum powder: debate over effects on health.
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A California woman has been awarded more than $US70 million ($A92 million) after alleging that years of using Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder caused her cancer.

It’s the latest case raising concerns about the health ramifications of extended talcum powder use.

The jury ruling on Thursday ended the case brought by Deborah Giannecchini of Modesto.

She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012.

The suit accused Johnson & Johnson of “negligent conduct” in making and marketing its baby powder.

Earlier this year, two other lawsuits in St Louis ended in jury verdicts worth a combined $US127 million ($A167 million), but two others in New Jersey were thrown out by a judge who said there wasn’t reliable evidence that talc leads to ovarian cancer.

Approximately 700 lawsuits have been brought to date, an American investigative journalist has estimated, with the number “still going up”.

“There probably will be more,” FairWarning reporter Myron Levin told Public Radio International in May 2015.

The white powder is made from talc, a very soft mineral mined from rock. Photo: Getty

Talcum powder has been sold by Johnson & Johnson as a personal hygiene product for more than 100 years, especially for women.

The research is as yet divided on whether the powder can cause cancer.

The UN World Health Organisation (WHO) last year described talc as “possibly carcinogenic”, while other health bodies have found little evidence to support this.

One theory is that talc particles travel to the ovaries, causing inflammation that can trigger the growth of tumours.

The company has defended the safety of its product.

“Few ingredients have demonstrated the same performance, mildness and safety profile as cosmetic talc, which has been used for over 100 years by millions of people around the world,” said Johnson & Johnson in a statement on its website.

With AAP

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