Baby Powder Ingredient Linked To Ovarian Cancer

Posted at 4:18 PM, Apr 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-13 20:36:05-04

A study has suggested baby powder is linked to ovarian cancer because of an ingredient called talc.

It's supposed to keep you dry and smelling fresh; so many women use talcum or baby powder for feminine hygiene, but the study suggests its not safe.

Attorney Luvell Glanton said baby powder led to the death of his daughter Verbina back in 2011.  "My daughter was 32 when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and she had used that product for over 20 years."

Glanton has since filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson to fight for his daughter, and he has prepared to file nine other local cases involving the baby powder giant.

"They knew there was an increased risk of using their product because of the talc, but they did nothing about it," Glanton said.  "All they had to do was put a warning on the label."

Jacqueline Fox, 62, of Alabama also died of Ovarian cancer. A jury recently awarded her family $72 million saying Johnson & Johnson's baby powder was responsible. 

Dr. Daniel Cramer, who conducted his own study, said if used repeatedly, talc can get into a woman's upper genital tract.  "I've done several different case control studies of ovarian cancer," he said.  "All of them have included information on talc, and all of them have found an elevated risk of ovarian cancer associated with talc use."

The American Cancer Society has not yet taken a side saying the evidence about talc and cancer isn't very clear. Glanton said it was enough for him, and he has pushed forward.  "I can't get her back, but what I can do is attempt to change the way Johnson & Johnson does business."

Carol Goodrich, spokesperson for Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. released this statement:

“Everyone at Johnson & Johnson sympathizes deeply with the women and families who have been affected by ovarian cancer, a complex disease with no known cause. We know the women and families affected are searching for answers and want to understand the science. However, it is important to distinguish jury verdicts from regulatory rulings or rigorous scientific findings,” said Carol Goodrich, spokesperson for Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Ltd. “Johnson & Johnson has always taken questions about the safety of our products extremely seriously, especially concerns about products like Johnson’s Baby Powder that families have trusted for generations. After 30 years of studies by medical experts around the world, the overwhelming body of scientific research and clinical evidence supports the safety of cosmetic talc.” The company will appeal the Fox verdict and will continue to defend the safety of our product in future cases.