Deborah Giannecchini, and ovarian cancer patient from Modesto, California, won over $70 million from Johnson & Johnson (J&J) after learning that her talcum powder usage increased her risk of cancer.
So far, nearly 2,000 similar lawsuits have been filed in the US alleging that ovarian cancer resulted from J&J talcum powder usage. These suits are grounded on the fact that J&J talcum powder containers did not contain a label warning that use of the powder may increase risk of ovarian cancer. J&J has argued that its talcum powder is safe and that it plans to appeal the verdict.
Carol Goodrich, a J&J spokeswoman, stated “We deeply sympathize with the woman and families impacted by ovarian cancer. We will appeal today’s verdict because we are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder.”
The International Agency for Research on Cancer currently classifies talcum powder as a “possible carcinogen,” though research conducted has shown varied results. The American Cancer Society has stated that “Studies of personal use of talcum powder have mixed results, although there is some suggestion of a possible increase in ovarian cancer risk. There is very little evidence at this time that any other forms of cancer are linked with consumer use of talcum powder.”
Ovarian cancer is considered a dangerous, but relatively rare form of cancer, as it accounts for only 22,000 of the 1.7 million cases of cancer that are expected to be diagnosed this year. Giannecchini claims that she had been using Johnson’s Baby Powder for 45 years, and was diagnosed in 2012. Giannecchini’s case is the third successful lawsuit brought against J&J this year, resulting in nearly $200 million in total damages awarded to the three ovarian cancer patients.