Does the talc in baby powder cause ovarian cancer? A California jury thinks so. And, by a vote of 9 to 3, that jury today told Johnson & Johnson to pay $417 million to a woman with ovarian cancer. Read about it here, here, here, and here. One report notes that Johnson & Johnson, "which faces 5,500 claims in U.S. courts, has lost four previous jury verdicts in St. Louis for a total of $300 million."
Here is what the American Cancer Society says on the topic:
It has been suggested that talcum powder might cause cancer in the ovaries if the powder particles (applied to the genital area or on sanitary napkins, diaphragms, or condoms) were to travel through the vagina, uterus, and fallopian tubes to the ovary. Many studies in women have looked at the possible link between talcum powder and cancer of the ovary. Findings have been mixed, with some studies reporting a slightly increased risk and some reporting no increase. 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. Two prospective cohort studies, which would not have the same type of potential bias, have not found an increased risk. For any individual woman, if there is an increased risk, the overall increase is likely to very be small. Still, talc is widely used in many products, so it is important to determine if the increased risk is real. Research in this area continues.