So, two lawsuits mean this stuff causes cancer, right?
"The real answer is that we don't really know," says Miami-based obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Jason James. "There is no definitive proof for or against, and if we look at the scientific data it is unclear."
But a recent study, released after the most recent lawsuit's verdict, found that applying the product to genitals, underwear, and sanitary napkins could increase the risk of developing ovarian cancer by a third. Yet another found talc to be associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer in African-American women. The American Cancer Society, for its part, acknowledges the public concern, but stops short of saying talcum powder causes ovarian cancer.
Despite the new evidence, there are still doubts, since "scientific consensus emerges over time, especially in cases like this, where the results have been somewhat inconsistent," as the National Cancer Institute's head of epidemiology told Reuters. The jury is still out, in other words -- except in real-world terms, it isn't, and with other lawsuits still pending, the verdict on talc may be decided in a court rather than a lab.