Johnson & Johnson was handed a jury verdict for $72 million this week in the case of a woman who died from ovarian cancer. She, and dozens of others, sued the company in the St. Louis Circuit Court in a case alleging that use of talcum powder, also known as baby powder, increases the risk of ovarian cancer.
Is talcum powder a carcinogen?
Up to approximately 1980, asbestos contaminated talc was commonly used in talcum powders. Modern day powders often are no longer talc based. However, asbestos diseases have a 30 to 40 year or longer latency period. Accordingly, women or children who frequently used talcum powders 30, 40 or 50 years ago could be at an increased risk for the development of certain asbestos related diseases.
Whether talc should be among the minerals commonly described as “asbestos” has been a point of contention going back to at least the early 1970s.