A jury in Missouri, US, has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay late Jacqueline Fox’s family US$72 million (over NZ$108 million) in actual and punitive damages, for failing to warn consumers of the dangers associated with talc, a mineral used in several products such as baby powder and Shower to Shower body powder.
Fox died at 62 of ovarian cancer, which she believed was caused by her 35 years of using Johnson & Johnson powders for feminine hygiene. Over 1,200 have filed similar suits through the US, but the company has refuted the claims and is now expected to appeal the verdict.
According to the American Cancer Society, studies have linked regular talc use with ovarian cancer for decades, but research has not been conclusive as to the effect of asbestos-free talc. In a statement, the ACS said that so far ‘findings have been mixed.’
"Many case-control studies have found a small increase in risk, but these types of studies can be biased because they often rely on a person's memory of talc use many years earlier."
Mitzi Saitzyk, corporate and public affairs manager of Johnson & Johnson Pacific, underlined that the products were safe to use in New Zealand as much as around the world.
“The talc used in all our global products is carefully selected and meets the highest quality, purity and compliance standards. The recent US verdict goes against decades of sound science proving the safety of talc as a cosmetic ingredient in multiple products, and while we sympathise with the family of the plaintiff, we strongly disagree with the outcome.”