Most of us are familiar with soft, white baby powder. In fact, for many of us, talc powder is associated with freshness, innocence, and cleanliniene routine. But in light of a recent verdict holding a maker of talc powder liable for the plaintiff’s cancer, many women are wondering: Is baby powder safe? As widely reported in the media, Johnson & Johnson was recently ordered by a Missouri state jury to pay $72 million of damages – $10 million in actual damages and $62 million in punitive damages – to the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer linked to her decades-long use of the company’s talc-based Baby Powder and Shower to Shower. After a three-week trial and just four hours of deliberation, the jury found Johnson & Johnson liable for fraud, negligence, and conspiracy. With as many as 40% of women using talc powder at least occasionally, many women are wondering whether they, too, are at increased risk of developing cancer, and the debate over talcum powder’s safety has been brewing for years. According to an article in the Guardian, talc – a naturally occurring and consists of magnesium, silicon, hydrogen and oxygen – is said to promote cancer by triggering long-term inflammation, but there is conflicting data about the actual risk. A 2003 meta-analysis looking at 16 studies involving 11,933 women found talc was associated with a higher risk of ovarian cancer, but a 2014 study of 61,576 women found no such link. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (part of the WHO) classified talc powder as “possibly carcinogenic” when applied to the genitals. The studies finding a weak link between talc powder and cancer have been case-control studies that compare the use of talc by women with ovarian cancer to those without it, and they rely on self-reported talc use, which can be more unreliable than other forms of data collection. Additionally, some experts point out that because ovarian cancer is relatively uncommon, some experts say that talc will only raise cancer risks slightly. Nonetheless, experts recommend women play it safe and stay away from baby powder. Johnson & Johnson is currently facing several hundred lawsuits – about 1000 lawsuits in Missouri and 200 in New Jersey – claiming that, in an effort to boost sales, the company failed for decades to warn consumers that its talc-based products could cause cancer. The cases are expected to go to trial and April and July, respectively, but in light of the outcome of the most recent verdict, the plaintiffs in these cases may have grounds to consolidate their claims and seek class action certification. Regardless of whether the pending claims are pursued as a class action or individually, this verdict is likely to have a significant impact on litigation going forward. Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer If you have used talc powder in the past and have developed ovarian cancer, you may have a cause of action for product liability. The Chicago injury lawyers at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish can help you understand your legal rights and options. Contact Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish at (312) 445-9084 to schedule a free consultation to discuss a possible legal claim. Steinberg Goodman & Kalish (www.sgklawyers.com) is dedicated to protecting victims and their families. We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (888) 325-7299 or (312) 445-9084.