A US court has ruled that Johnson & Johnson must pay tens of millions of dollars to the family of a woman who died of ovarian cancer and used talc-based products for 35 years.
The Independent reports:
For over 35 years, Jacqueline Fox claimed she used Baby Powder and Shower to Shower as feminine hygiene products. She was diagnosed with cancer three years ago, and died in October aged 62. Jurors in Missouri decided that Johnson & Johnson must pay $10million in actual damages and $62million in punitive damages to Fox's family, court records show.
Over 1,000 other cases have also been filed, according to media reports.
Links have been drawn between talcum powder and ovarian cancer for many years - the concern seems to be the possibility of talc particles which may travel to the ovaries then causing cancer - which surely begs the questions - why are talc products still on sale if there's the possibility of a health risk?
As the mother of boys this wasn't a health risk that was on my radar when my lads were babies, but I've been using talcum powder on my little girl for the past two years and consequently this story made my stomach churn.
But some experts say it's rash to draw conclusions about the dangers of using talcum powder based purely on this ruling.
The Independent cites one such expert who said it was "biologically plausible" but "unlikely" that cancer could develop as a result of using talcum powder.
A spokesperson for Johnson & Johnson said:
"We have no higher responsibility than the health and safety of consumers, and we are disappointed with the outcome of the trial. We sympathise with the plaintiff's family but firmly believe the safety of cosmetic talc is supported by decades of scientific evidence."
If, like me, you're still of a mind to ditch the baby powder, you could always try making your own talc-free baby powder. Simply mix a bag of cornflour with a few drops of your favourite essential oil (double-check it's safe for use on little ones first) and then dispense the lot into a sugar shaker like this one (£5.39 with free delivery from Amazon) and voila - home-made talc-free baby powder.
You can also buy talc-free baby powder like this one from Burt's Bees but it aint cheap so another alternative is liquid talc which feels like a cream when you apply it to baby's skin but dries to a talc-like silky finish. I love Mothercare's liquid talc and it's only £2.49 for 125ml. It's hypo-allergenic and contains natural ingredients including olive oil and chamomile.
We want to hear your thoughts on this story. Do you use talcum powder on yourself or your children, and has this ruling made you think twice about doing so? Let us know in the comments below. And if you have your own talc-free recipe for baby powder, we'd love to hear it!