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No link between talc and ovarian cancer, new study reveals

Published on 08/01/20 at 12:13pm

Researchers examining data from over 252,000 women have concluded that there is no statistically significant link between the use of talc-based baby powder and ovarian cancer.

The research was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It found that the use of powder in the genital area and incidents of ovarian cancer was 1.08. 2,168 women in the study developed ovarian cancer.

It was a cohort study in which researchers followed a group of subjects over time and tracks their life experiences and their health condition. They sought correlations and cause-and-effect relationships.

However this does not change the landscape of lawsuits that the producers of talc-based baby powder are facing. More than 12,000 lawsuits have been filed across America in state and federal courts, which blame Johnson & Johnson’s talc products for ovarian cancer and mesothelioma.

In August 2017, an Los Angeles jury hit Johnson & Johnson for $417 million in damages over the case of Eva Echeverria, who alleged that the company’s baby powder had given her ovarian cancer after extended use on her genital area.

Despite the new cohort study, case-control studies have shown stronger links between ovarian cancer and baby powder use. Daniel W. Cramer, a Harvard epidemiologist, has carried out multiple case-control studies which have been used in many of the lawsuits. He himself has served as an expert witness in these cases.

Lynn O’Dell, a leading lawyer in cases naming Johnson & Johnson, commenting on the study, and said: “The study doesn’t change the landscape in terms of the data we’re dealing with. Juries recognize that we’re talking about a product with no therapeutic benefit. It’s a cosmetic. Juries see that and they see the failure of Johnson & Johnson to warn consumers or remove the product from the market, and I think they’re outraged.”

Conor Kavanagh

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