ST. LOUIS, Mo. – A jury in Missouri ruled against a well-known company, ordering it to pay millions to a woman’s family.
Jackie Fox, 62, died of ovarian cancer in 2015.
Her family said she used Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder for nearly 50 years, and claimed her death was a direct result.
The family argued that the company knew about the risks of using products that contain talc, but claim it never warned consumers about those dangers.
Talc is a mineral composed of magnesium, silicon, oxygen, and hydrogen. It is used in many different products, including baby powder and makeup.
Currently, researchers are split over the risks associated with talc. Some studies say there is a proven link between talc and ovarian cancer, while others say the evidence is too weak.
The American Cancer Society says it is not clear if products containing talcum powder increase cancer risk. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization, classifies talc as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
Because products containing talcum powder are classified as cosmetics, they do not have to undergo review by the Food and Drug Administration. However, they must be properly labeled and “they must be safe for use by consumers under labeled or customary conditions of use,” the FDA states.
After hearing the case, a jury ruled in favor of the woman’s family and ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $72 million in damages.
The case is part of a wider lawsuit brought by nearly 50 women against Johnson & Johnson.
Responding to the verdict, Johnson & Johnson issued a statement saying its products are safe.
“The recent U.S. verdict goes against decades of sound science proving the safety of talc as a cosmetic ingredient in multiple products, and while we sympathize with the family of the plaintiff, we strongly disagree with the outcome,” Carol Goodrich, a Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman, said in a statement sent to CNN.