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American court awards $72m to family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer allegedly caused by talcum powder

Johnson & Johnson facing potential claims from more than 1000 consumers

Woman dusting talcum powder

24 February 2016

Product liability lawyer Michelle Victor has reacted with concern to the news that a Missouri jury has awarded $72m to the family of a woman who died of ovarian cancer.

The woman’s son took over her claim in October 2015 when his mother died of ovarian cancer more than two years after being diagnosed with the disease.

The woman believed that her cancer was caused by her regular use of Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder.

Johnson & Johnson are believed to be considering appealing against the award on the basis that their product is safe to use and that there is no scientific link between the use of baby powder and ovarian cancer.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer published a paper evaluating the risk to human of Carbon Black, Titanium Dioxide and Talc in 2010 which suggests that the regular use of talcum powder on the genitals could be ‘possibly carcinogenic’.

Ovarian cancer is a rare disease and any definite link between the use of talcum powder and the disease would result in very few extra women developing the cancer.

Many manufacturers have been under increasing pressure from consumers to ban possible carcinogens from their cosmetic products, including 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde.

The product liability team at Leigh Day has acted for a number of people who have suffered injuries after using cosmetic products.

Cosmetic safety lawyer Michelle Victor said:

“Talcum powder is used on a day-to-day basis by thousands of people throughout the UK.  Consumers will want assurance from manufacturers that their products are safe to use and that there is no link between such a familiar household product and cancer.”

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