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Does Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder Cause Cancer?

Terry Leavitt, a California woman who claims the asbestos in Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder caused her cancer, was awarded $29.4 million by an Oakland jury earlier this month. The jury determined that the popular product was indeed a contributing factor to her mesothelioma — an aggressive form of cancer caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers. Leavitt said she used two of the company’s talcum-powder-based products in the 1960s and 1970s — Baby Powder and Shower to Shower — and believes they contributed to her cancer diagnosis in 2017.


Johnson & Johnson said in a statement they plan to appeal the decision and deny that their products contain asbestos or cause cancer. The company is currently facing more than 13,000 talc-related lawsuits, on top of new reports claiming they are largely to blame for fueling the country’s opioid crisis by serving as a top opioid supplier, seller and lobbyist. Johnson & Johnson has been forced to pay out damages as high as $4.69 billion, awarded in July 2018 after a multiplantiff ovarian cancer verdict.

The company was called out over a decade ago for the dangerous ingredients in their products, including 1,4-dioxane and quaternium-15. 1,4-dixoane has been labeled a likely carcinogen, while quaternium-15 releases formaldehyde — a known carcinogen. Internal documents presented at a 2018 trail showed that Johnson & Johnson officials have known for at least 30 years that their talc powders contained asbestos, a cancer-causing mineral.

As the trials continue, more evidence of cancer-causing chemicals in Johnson & Johnson products is revealed. And, there is little doubt that company officials have known about the dangerous for quite some time but have chosen to keep consumers in the dark — one of many reasons why it’s so important to be an informed consumer.

More than 10,000 chemicals can be found in personal care products, and no safety testing is required before these products hit the market. Reading labels and knowing what to look for can help keep you and your family safe from the dangerous chemicals lurking in shampoo, deodorant, soap, lotion, makeup and other personal care products. If you don’t know where to start, head over to the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database. It contains ingredient lists and safety ratings for around 75,000 cosmetics and personal care products to help you make safer choices.


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