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tv   Full Measure With Sharyl Attkisson  ABC  March 5, 2017 10:00am-10:30am EST

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deane berg: i was about 16 years old. sharyl: deane berg was among the millions of women who use talcum powder on their genital area for freshness. >> ♪ a spinkle a day helps keep odor away! ♪ deane berg: and so i just thought it was perfectly safe to use and they were marketing it quite a bit. sharyl: and how many years did this go on? deane berg: until i got cancer. pres. trump: we are also taking strong measures to protect our nation from radical islamic terrorism. sharyl: will it be something that can be turned around in short order? sen. ron johnson: well, we certainly witnessed after the carter administration, president ronald reagan coming in and reestablishing america's credibility in the world. that's going to be a challenge for president trump. lois linton: hello! lisa fletcher: lois linton may be the st. louis rams' biggest fan.
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except, there are no st. louis rams. the rams moved to los angeles last year, even after st. louis promised a brand new stadium. lois linton: it's heart-wrenching, because the city not only loses the team, but they lose all of that out-of-town revenue coming in. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] ♪ sharyl: welcome to "full measure." i'm sharyl attkisson. today, we begin with a possible health risk involving one of the most trusted products. baby powder. a potential link between ovarian cancer and the talc mineral used in baby powder has been studied for decades.
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the question is -- did major talc industry players ignore evidence and their own consultants' advice while aggressively marketing their products to consumers? or is it all a plot to file frivolous lawsuits and shake-down billion dollar corporations? our cover story is "sprinkle of doubt." deane berg: i was about 16 years old. my mother had recommended it to me because of chafing problems in the heat in the summertime. sharyl: deane berg was among the millions of women who use talcum powder on their genital area for freshness. was it baby powder? deane: sometimes it was baby powder. other times it was the shower to shower, because that came out and it was specifically for women. "a sprinkle a day keeps the odor away." >> ♪ a sprinkle a day keeps the odor away. ♪ deane: and so i just thought it was perfectly safe to use and they were marketing it quite a bit. sharyl: and how many years did this go on? deane: until i got cancer, when i was 49. sharyl: even though she's a
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nothing about the possible risks of that sprinkle a day. >> have you had your sprinkle today? sharyl: when she got cancer, she did her own research and was shocked to find longstanding studies suggesting a link between talc and ovarian cancer. why do you think it is that someone inside the medical industry wasn't even aware of this? deane: there really was nothing in the public at all about this, and even my gynecologist had never heard of that before. sharyl: talc is the world's softest mineral and a multi-billion-dollar a year industry. it's used in plastics, antiperspirants, cosmetics, gum, medicine, soap, toothpaste and baby powder. johnson & johnson, it's a feeling you never outgrow. sharyl: the debate over the safety of talc goes back decades. there's already a warning that it could cause breathing problems if inhaled. dr. daniel cramer says there may be other risks. a professor of obstetrics
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school, he was first to find a statistical link between talc and ovarian cancer in a 1982 study. dr. daniel cramer: it has taken 25 years of additional literature, i believe, to make the case, but i believe we were on target in that study and that the subsequent studies have supported there is an elevated risk. we reported that the risk might be as high as a two-fold increase in risk if they had more than, say, 20 years of talc use. sharyl: dr. cramer testified as a paid expert in the trial of deane berg, who became the first ovarian cancer victim to sue america's number one baby powder maker, johnson & johnson. talc can get into women's reproductive tract, testified dr. cramer, and trigger the cancer process, especially in long term users like berg, who says she sprinkled on powder every day for more than 30 years. dr. cramer: talc is a potent inflammatory agent, and if it's able to reach the pelvic cavity, i think it is cabl
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inducing an inflammatory response. deane: they took my pathology report and my slides with my tissue and did further research on it, and it came back definitely showing talcum in my ovaries. this was a shot that was taken on mother's day of 2007, when i had absolutely no hair. sharyl: berg says johnson & johnson offered her a half million dollars to avoid trial. deane: i didn't like the attitude of the people that were there from johnson & johnson. it was almost like a brush-off. and the more i thought about it, i said, "well, i didn't go into this just to make a million dollars." i said, "i wanna get the warning out there. aren't you gonna do anything about that?" and so they went up to $1.3 million. and i finally said, "i'll see you in court in september," and walked out of the room. sharyl: berg won her trial in 2013, but without explanation, the jury didn't require johnson jo
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deane: they were proven guilty of negligence for failing to warn me about it, but there was no damages awarded to me, which was quite a shock in the sense of six months of no work, the pain of chemotherapy, hysterectomy, and permanent hearing loss, nerve damage. sharyl: even without a cash award, berg's landmark victory set off panic in the talc industry and a torrent of new lawsuits. >> attention -- women who have used talc based personal care products. >> talcum powder has been linked to ovarian cancer and death. sharyl: in the past 13 months, ovarian cancer victims have won three major victories worth $197 million. victims' attorneys argued johnson & johnson knew about "30 years of studies showing an increased risk of ovarian cancer," but failed to warn the public. johnson & johnson wouldn't agree to an interview, but says its products are safe and supported by decades of scientific
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evidence, that studies linking talc to cancer are flawed, and quote, "if there was the slightest risk to our consumers we would be the first to withdraw the product." the world's leading talc producer, imerys, wouldn't agree to an interview, but referred us to american tort reform association, a trade group supported in part by the talc industry. darren mckinney is a spokesman. what is your group or the talc industry's point of view in general in terms of the alleged association between talcum powder and ovarian cancer? darren mckinney: the american tort reform association does not believe that credible medical and scientific authorities have, in fact, they have not determined a causal link between the use, the cosmetic, external use of talcum powder with ovarian cancer. sharyl: jurors may have been persuaded otherwise by company documents revealed as evidence in the lawsuits. in 1997, a johnson & johnson consultant wrote a scathing
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letter, telling the company that "9 studies did show a statistically significant association between hygenic talc use and ovarian cancer" and "anybody who denies this risks that the talc industry will be perceived like the cigarette industry -- denying the obvious in the face of all evidence to the contrary." another court exhibit was this 2004 letter from the biggest talc producer to the fda. it proposed voluntarily phasing-out talc for genital use. it even suggested an fda warning, saying there was a "possible association" with "ovarian cancer." mckinney points out the fda never required a warning. mr. mckinney: the fda as recently within the last couple of years has made it very clear that the science, as the fda sees it, simply does not merit such a warning at this time. sharyl: the fda also did say, though, the growing body of evidence to support a possible association between genital talc exposure and serous ovarian cancer is difficult to dismiss?
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mr. mckinney: god bless 'em. and i don't know anyone who is arguing that what we know today about talcum powder use or chocolate consumption or red wine consumption is what we will believe 30 years from now. but based on what we know today, certainly the fda believes and many of the rest of us believe that there's no reason to hold the makers or the sellers of talcum powder liable to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, much of which the plaintiffs' bar is going to greedily call its own. sharyl: mckinney says money-grubbing plaintiffs' lawyers are descending upon a sympathetic court in st. louis, missouri, where the talc industry lost those three big cases and where more than 1000 more lawsuits are pending. mr. mckinney: they chose a giant, deep-pocket defendant w
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they assume would cower because it's ovarian cancer and they presumed they could extort tens of millions of dollars' worth of a universal settlement and that hasn't worked out. but when science is on your side, as the talc defendants insists it is here, we would argue that you ought to stick to your guns and you ought to fight if you believe you're right, and that's what the talc defendants are doing. sharyl: there was victory for the talc industry last september, when a judge threw out two cases in new jersey, saying there was inadequate scientific support. but berg says there's one piece of evidence from her trial that she can't shake. while there's no cancer warning on baby powder, believe it or not there is one on industrial talc before it's sold to consumers. added in 2006, it reads, "perineal use of talc-based body powder is possibly carcinogenic to humans." the workers who handle the talc are warned about the cancer risk? deane: right. sharyl: but then the women who put it on
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deane: correct. yes. that was rather shocking. sharyl: today, berg is recovering from her surgeries, chemotherapy, and nerve damage. as the first ovarian cancer victim to win a talc lawsuit, she wants other women to know what she didn't. deane: if people wanna continue to use it, that's their right, but at least have a warning label stating to women, there is this risk. so it's up to you to make the final decision. sharyl: johnson & johnson is appealing the three giant verdicts in st. louis. valeant pharmaceuticals, which acquired shower to shower in 2012, told us "the company cannot comment on active litigation." ahead on "full measure." this week, president trump announced a "plan to demolish and destroy isis." we talk strategy and failures with the head of the senate homeland security committee.
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sharyl: president trump has promised a new strategy for fighting terrorism, including isis. this week, in his congressional address, he signaled a big change when he used a phase president obama refused to utter for eight years. president trump: we are also taking strong measures to protect our nation from radical islamic terrorism. [applause] sharyl: president trump clearly has a different style. but is there substance behind his fresh approach? we asked the leader of the senate homeland security committee, republican ron johnson. on terrorism, we've heard from many public officials who have said they're more or less banned from using the word radical islamic extremism in recent years.
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policies have been shaped in such a way that some of them say make it very difficult to go after radical islamic terrorists. do you see things changing with the new administration and what's the new strategy? sen. ron johnson: well, you are referring to policies under the former administration and you know whether it's president obama, it starts at the top, calling isis or referring to isis as the jv team, it's just that denial of reality. when it comes to islamic terror, when it comes to our debt and deficit, my guess is this administration when you look at the appointments to his cabinet, these are individuals from the private sector that have to solve problems dealing with real information, not denying reality. so certainly i'm hopeful that the new administration will approach the world fact-based, not afraid to acknowledge these realities and act accordingly. sharyl: couple of cases. russia twice warned the u.s. that the boston marathon bomber, tsarnaev, was a violent radical islamist and our intel agencies
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didn't conduct surveillance because they didn't have enough information. omar matin, responsible for murdering 51 people in orlando, was investigated for terror twice by the fbi but those cases were closed, he even told his coworkers he had terrorist ties. the father of the new jersey new york bombings suspect ahmed rahami said he previously notified the fbi that his son was a terrorist. esteban santiago who allegedly killed 5 people and injured 8 at the florida airport after previously walking into an fbi office and claiming he was linked to isis. if our intel experts can't capture people that're literally placed before them, how can we have confidence that our system will catch people that're harder to find? sen. ron johnson: well, first of all, i don't think we have 100% confidence. it's the challenge we face. the number of people that fit
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that type of profile, you know, the number of potential terrorist cases the fbi is tracking down. the basic problem in a free society that does adhere to the principle "innocent until proven guilty" is what do you do with "not guilty yet"? it's an enormous challenge, which i think should direct our efforts in understanding what our priorities should be. we have to defeat isis. as long as isis remains, they're going to continue to conspire -- inspire this type of inspired lone wolf attack that we've certainly experienced here in the united states. we have to be concerned about directed wolf pack attacks, we've seen that around the world as well. so we have to address by taking it seriously enough and acknowledge the reality that islamic terror is a growing, metastasizing, evolving problem and we have to address it because it's impossible to be 100% perfect here in the u.s. sharyl: by all accounts, islamic extremist terrorism has vastly expanded in recent years. on president obama's way out of the office, though, he declared that no foreign terrorist organization has successfully planned and executed an attack in the u.s. and he's right if he's talking about lone wolf
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have happened here in larger numbers, versus these network attacks directed directly by isis, for example. does he deserve credit for what he says having no isis-connected, al qaeda-connected attacks on u.s. soil? sen. ron johnson: he deserves credit for ordering the attack on osama bin laden and killing that terrorist. you know, the fact of the matter is that we haven't had al qaeda-directed, massive scale attacks here in the u.s. and that's a good thing, but we have seen these inspired lone wolves. we've really seen them proliferate around the world. the strategic blunder of just historic proportions bugging out of iraq, not leaving a stabilizing force has caused the events in syria to spin out of control and allowed the genocide of no less than half a million syrians and the rise of isis. i don't think we would've seen isis rise to this level had we left a stabilizing force behind. so president obama has an awful lot to account for, don't give
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think the world is in far greater turmoil and america is less safe after 8 years of his administration. sharyl: will it be something that can be turned around in short order? sen. ron johnson: well, we certainly witnessed after the carter administration, ronald reagan coming in and reestablishing america's credibility around the world. that's going to be a challenge for president trump. he's going to first have to establish the credibility of america. sharyl: johnson says restoring u.s. credibility starts with restoring the economy. next on "full measure." we look at the huge amounts of money being offered to attract sports teams and the taxpayers who are left holding the bill when the teams lea
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sharyl: the pro football season is over but there's a new game in town. major sports franchises are shopping for brand new stadiums. las vegas is offering a whopping $750 million in public money to lure the oakland raiders. st. louis lost the nfl rams to los angeles, where the city is dangling a dazzling new $2
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most of those big stadiums come with taxpayer subsidies. and what do the taxpayers get? lisa fletcher takes a look. lois linton: hello! lisa fletcher: lois linton may be the st. louis rams biggest fan. lois: that is marshall faulk. lisa: except, there are no st. louis rams. the rams moved to los angeles last year, even after st. louis promised to spend more than $300 million tax dollars on a brand new stadium to replace one only 20 years old. lois: it's heart-wrenching, because the city not only loses the team, but they lose all of that out-of-town revenue coming in. it's a no-win situation when you lose a team. lisa: on the other side of town, on the other side of an economic divide, jeanette mott oxford is director of empower missouri. she did no
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section pushing for tax dollars for sports stadiums when the people of st. louis were facing critical shortfalls. ms. oxford: i had been at our city, st. louis city, department of public health and found that almost all of the elevators in the building were not working at that point, and i thought, wait, we can't repair the elevators in our health department, but we can give money to millionaires and billionaires and it just incensed me. lisa: oxford and two other activists took the issue to court to force a public vote before public money could be spent on a stadium. a key argument -- those rosy forecasts of revenue growth from team backers have no basis in fact. a stanford university study comes to the conclusion that sports stadiums do not boost the local economy. in fact, it points out that st. louis is still paying for a stadium used now for car shows and an occasional concert.
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ms. oxford: the federal reserve bank showed that in ohio, where some publicly funded stadiums had been created, that each job that was created cost over $300,000. their department of economic development normally spent less than $7,000 to create a job, so that's an incredible waste of public money. benjamin hochman: i look at sports as a way to grow a region. lisa: benjamin hochman writes a sports column for the "st. louis post dispatch." benjamin: for me, there's few things more important than having big sports in a big town, and i'm not denying that our city and many cities have many issues. lisa: hochman is doubling down on the tax gamble. not only did he want the city to spend to keep the rams and the cardinals, he's supporting a new major league soccer stadium near union station downtown. lisa: this being your hometown, you knew how hard it was on sports fans here when the rams left.
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despite everything fans went through, you wrote a column that supported the use of taxpayer subsidies to continue to pay for athletic venues here in st. louis. why did you do that? benjamin: they're going to take $60 million of the public money, yes, there's going to be taxes, there's going to be jobs, there's going to be a lot, and like we talk about, sometimes that doesn't work out in cities. ms. oxford: i think there's this little group of folks that stands to gain from the project that are super fans of bringing soccer to st. louis, professional soccer, and they're determined to make this deal happen some way. lisa: sports fans in st. louis are no strangers to defeat. russ todd: if the team doesn't make money, they'll go to another venue, you know, they'll move on. >> the rams had their run for a while, you know, it's bittersweet, but you know i'm kind of happy to see them go. let them be someone else's problem now. benjamin: sports are designed to break your heart, but that's on the field. and here was a situation where the guy took st. louis's team,
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left, basically just kicked the city in the teeth hard, like we needed a lot of dental work after that one. lisa: lois litton knows the odds are long. but part of being a fan is having faith. lois: i love football. don't ask me why. i don't know, but i always have. it just pains me terribly that i may never get to see another live nfl game. sharyl: i hope she gets to see a game. lisa: i do too. st. louis is going to vote on sharyl: th
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sharyl: next week, scott thuman will be here filling in for me with a fascinating report on a dramatic change in one sanctuary city. scott: in south florida, temperatures were hotter inside than out. pres. trump: we are going to get the bad ones out. scott: 24 hours after president trump announced a plan to cut federal funding to sanctuary cities, mayor carlos gimenez became the first to revise policy on how to handle immigration detainer requests. mayor gimenez: if you are a criminal, if you are arrested, you will be treated like anybody else. sharyl: that's next week. until then, we will be searching for more stories that hold powers accountable. i'm sharyl attkisson.
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>> coming up on "government matters" a candid interview with rear admiral barrett, the deputy direct of current operations at u.s. cyber command. we'll talk about a possible split from the agency. >> we constantly worried about the engeneral knewty of our -- >> we'll find greater savings and efficiencies across government. we're going to do more with less. >> our federal beat round table features nick

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