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Talcum powder's links to cancer: What it really means

Thursday - 12/04/2018 07:19
Is baby powder dangerous?​ 
Editor's Note: Ford Vox is a physician specializing in rehabilitation medicine and a journalist. He is a medical analyst for NPR station WABE-FM 90.1 in Atlanta. He writes frequently for CNN Opinion. Follow him on Twitter @FordVox. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. This commentary adds an update to an earlier column about lawsuits over the effects of talcum powder use.


(CNN) - With yet another eye-popping talcum powder verdict against Johnson & Johnson, the healthcare product giant is making the headlines. I last wrote about the issue in 2016, in a column (which appears below this update) about a ruling against Johnson & Johnson related to a claim that the powder caused ovarian cancer. 

But in this new verdict, reached last week, a New Jersey jury agreed with a man suffering from mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer, that the baby powder he'd used for decades was to blame. The jury awarded him $30 million in compensatory damages and his wife $7 million in damages. 
Americans' use of talcum powder has dropped off precipitously since the early 1980s, and the continuing legal battles over its links to cancer will ensure that trend continues. Johnson & Johnson is offering a cornstarch alternative, while vigorously attempting to defend itself from an onslaught of lawsuits, with few successes. Johnson & Johnson vehemently denies that its powder has anything to do with cancer.

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