Following a three-week-long trial in the U.S ., a jury in Missouri has ordered that pharmaceutical company Johnson& Johnson pay out a staggering $72 million to the family of the status of women who died last year of ovarian cancer, a demise the family blames on the heath care giants talcum powder.
According to BBC News, they claim that the woman in question, 62 -year-old Jackie Fox from Birmingham, Alabama, applied J& Js talc products for decades but was not made aware of the potential health risks they carried, due to a failing on the companys behalf to alert users.
While the jury have had an opportunity to constructed its verdict, its doubtful that the battle is won as J& J will likely appeal. That said, this isnt the only example that the company is confront: a further 1, 200 lawsuits are currently pending across the country, and its anticipated that the outcome of this trial will likely spur thousands more.
But is there any plausibility behind these asserts? The fears over talc stem from the fact that this mineral is naturally found in places across Globe that also contain asbestos, a known carcinogen. It is for that reason that talc used for cosmetic purposes, such as in makeup or to render newborn powder, must be free of asbestos, a requirement thats been in place since the 70 s.
Yet because of its chemical similarity to asbestos, talc has continually been scrutinized as a possible cancer-causing agent. Namely, multiple surveys over the years have described associations with genital application of talcum powder and ovarian cancer. While some research has concluded that talc employ may modestly increase the risk of this particular type of cancer, the link remains a controversial one. Poor study design is often raised, with selection bias blamed for helping tip the scales to significance.
In addition, biological proof to support this connect is lacking as a mechanism of carcinogenicity has yet to be identified, and there appears to be no dose response. If talc wasindeed a carcinogen, greater exposure would be expected to cause a greater risk of developing cancer, but that has not been observed with its use.
Furthermore, additional questions arise when route of exposure is considered. More intrusive products, such as condoms and diaphragm, which are coated with talc, have not been associated with a risk of ovarian cancer. Considering talc a carcinogen absence convincing scientific documentation, one survey concludes.
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