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Johnson's Baby Powder blamed in mother's death; doctor recommends using baby powder sparingly

by: Letisha Bereola Updated:

Her family says baby powder killed her. Now, a jury has awarded the family of Jacqueline Fox $72 million from Johnson and Johnson.

Fox, who was from Alabama, died of ovarian cancer; her family claims was caused by a substance in the baby powder. Her son Marvin Salter said this settlement doesn’t end the push for justice.

"Her whole fight was not just for her ... but for so many other women. And that's why I continue ... that's why I continue this fight," Salter said.

Johnson and Johnson, which faces hundreds of similar lawsuits, was found liable for fraud, negligence and conspiracy.

It's the first time a U.S. jury has awarded monetary damages for claims about talcum powder. Fox’s family said this ruling should serve as a warning to other woman and families.

Action News Jax’s Letisha Bereola asked Dr. Scot Ackerman of the Ackerman Cancer Center what the medical industry says about talcum powder, the number one ingredient in Johnson and Johnson baby powder.

He said pure talc is not the problem; it's what some companies add to it that can possibly cause cancer.

"Every company does a formulation that might be a little bit different. Those formulations may include certain chemicals that could have cancer potential," Ackerman said.

Fox’s family said she had been using Johnson’s Baby Powder for 50 years before she died of ovarian cancer in 2015.

The family claims the company knew of possible health risks of the powder, but failed to warn customers. The family won their lawsuit against Johnson and Johnson and was awarded $72 million.

Ackerman said talc powder was far more dangerous 50 years ago, when Fox began using the product because it likely contained asbestos.

"So if someone was using talcum powder with asbestos in it many years ago and she was using copious amount of it, there is a potential of it being absorbed in the body," Ackerman said.

Ackerman said these days, talc powder doesn’t contain asbestos but he said people should still use caution.

"I think the prudent thing to do, as a person, or as a mom of small children, is when you’re using those products to use them sparingly and to really think twice about it before you use it,” Ackerman said.

If you still want to use some type of powder, Ackerman suggests that you use talc-free powder or cornstarch.

Johnson and Johnson said it plans to appeal the ruling.