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Record $417 Million Award in Lawsuit Linking Baby Powder to Cancer

The award in the latest lawsuit claiming that Johnson’s Baby Powder caused users to develop gynecological cancers is the largest one yet, with a jury handing down a $417 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson. The plaintiff’s attorneys argued that Johnson & Johnson knew of studies linking their powder to ovarian cancer, but did not inform consumers. According to ABC-CBN News, the company plans to appeal the verdict, arguing the “science supports the safety” of the powder.

More than 20 studies have linked the use of talcum powder around the genital area to ovarian cancer in women, and that’s why juries are continuing to award women damages for what Johnson & Johnson hid for so long. Shockingly, there are “only” about 4,800 similar lawsuits pending, all with women who developed cancer after using this product.

Johnson & Johnson is a well-known "baby friendly" brand, but its track record leaves something to be desired. I don’t like having to say this, but I warned women in 2008 to stop using this powder. What’s worse, it’s evident that Johnson & Johnson knew about its cancer connection for decades.

Unfortunately, talcum powder is only one of thousands of products that contain chemicals used in cosmetics and personal care products today. You may not realize it, but cosmetics can be brought to market without having to undergo an approval process, as the FDA does not require premarket approval for them unless they are color additives. Of the 13,000 chemicals used in cosmetics, only 10 percent have been safety tested.

Not only that, companies are also not required to share whatever safety information they might have with the FDA — and that’s a travesty because what happens in the end is that people get sick and even die, and lawsuits have to happen to bring the truth to light. Really, it would help the FDA learn more about the long-term effects of personal care products.

In the meantime, use only organically created products on your skin. Find recipes to make your own homemade bath and handwashing products that don’t contain additional by-products and preservatives. In the store, products bearing the “USDA 100% Organic” seal are among your safest bets if you want to avoid potentially toxic ingredients.
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