Woman awarded $110.5 million in talcum-powder lawsuit

A St. Louis jury has awarded a Virginia woman $110.5 million US in the latest lawsuit alleging that Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder caused cancer. Lois Slemp, 62, of Wise, Virginia, made the claim, one of 2,400 such cases, which J&J has defended against and which it continues to appeal. Ads appealing for women to seek legal aid suggest there is big money to be had. A number of cases have been thrown out. There is apparently only thin evidence the soft-mineral product can, over time, find its way into the body and damage the genitals. Talcum powder has been widely used in cosmetics and other personal care products to absorb moisture since at least 1894, when Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder was launched. But it’s mainly used in a variety of other products, including paint and plastics. Most research has found no link or a weak one between ovarian cancer and using baby powder for feminine hygiene. Most major health groups have declared talc harmless. Still, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies genital use of talc as “possibly carcinogenic.”

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