It’s part of the daily routine for countless women — showering, shampooing, and a squeeze or two of baby powder.
Lots of us have been using the stuff for as long as we can remember.
But when some people get a whiff of baby powder, all they smell is a rat. They’re the women who believe their ovarian cancers were caused by Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder.
Currently, there are over a thousand lawsuits claiming that the company hid the cancer-causing risks of its talc-based powders for decades.
Risks that millions of women are still facing every single day.
But the dangers of talc-based powders have been coming out for a long time as well.
In fact, by the 1960s most pediatricians knew that inhaling the powder could make a baby very sick — and even die. And almost 50 years ago the American Academy of Pediatrics published a report advising doctors to warn parents about the link between lung disease in infants and talcum powder.
Apparently, however, the alarm wasn’t sounded loud enough. Because many women are now saying that they should have been warned, too.
Warned, that is, about the risk of getting ovarian cancer — just like Jacqueline Fox did.
For over 35 years the Alabama woman used two J&J products, baby powder and Shower to Shower for feminine hygiene. She died last fall, two years after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
Just last week, a jury demanded that J&J pay her family a whopping $72 million for failing to warn her of the cancer risks (some of that will go to a fund to compensate other victims as well).
The company, of course, continues to claim that its talc products are safe and that the “verdict goes against decades of sound science.”
Yeah, right — as long as you don’t see the science that the company first learned about decades ago.
You see, documents released during the trial made it clear that J&J knew about the danger for a long, long time. One memo said that ignoring the risk of ovarian cancer from the “hygienic” use of talcum powder is “denying the obvious.”
But, of course, that didn’t stop J&J from continuing to market this stuff to millions of us women all around the world.
The Fox family attorney, Jim Onder said the company spent 30 years hiding the truth, knowing it would one day have to face the music in court.
And the concept that talc could cause cancer wasn’t just a wild conspiracy theory dreamed up by lawyers like Onder, either. Since the 1970s evidence has been coming out proving that talc particles can travel through a woman’s reproductive tract. Studies have found that “a majority” of ovarian tumors were found to have talc in them.
So despite what J&J says, the evidence is clear as can be. Products containing talc are dangerous to use — especially for women. One study found that using it for feminine hygiene can up the risk of ovarian cancer by a staggering 33 percent.
Don’t even ask where the FDA is in all this. It put out a statement over 20 years ago saying that while it had heard about the risk, it has no intention of even issuing a warning about talcum powder products.
And it still hasn’t.
So once again, it’s up to us to protect ourselves, and that’s easy enough to do.
If you still have any talc-based baby powder products in your home, make sure you toss them right in the trash.
“Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay $72 million in suit linking talcum powder to ovarian cancer” Yanan Wang, February 24, 2016, The Washington Post, washingtonpost.com
“St. Louis jury orders Johnson & Johnson to pay $72 million in talcum powder cancer case” Kim Bell, February 23, 2016, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, stltoday.com