A jury recently awarded a California woman more than $70 million as a result of a lawsuit accusing Johnson & Johnson of causing her cancer through their brand name baby powder. Deborah Giannecchini was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012, and is not the first woman to sue the company for this reason. About 2,000 other women have filed similar lawsuits, and a couple have received similar settlements, costing the company a combined $127 million; $72 million to the relatives of an Alabama woman who died of ovarian cancer, and $55 million to a South Dakota woman who survived her cancer. Ovarian cancer accounts for about 22,000 of the 1.7 million new cases of cancer diagnosed this year, and studies have shown a weak link between ovarian cancer and using baby powder for feminine hygiene. Most major health groups have declared talcum powder to be harmless, and Johnson & Johnson maintains their baby powder as perfectly safe for use. However, other research dating back to the 1970s has suggested a link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer, indicating that women who regularly use talcum powder on their genital area have a 40 percent higher risk of developing cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies genital use of talcum powder as “possibly carcinogenic.” The lawsuit also accuses Johnson & Johnson of purposefully marketing their product toward the demographic most at risk for developing ovarian cancer- overweight women, blacks and Hispanics. Age, obesity, use of estrogen therapy after menopause, not having any children, certain genetic mutations, and personal or family history of breast or ovarian cancer are all known factors which increase a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer. Talc is the mineral used in talcum powder, and is widely used in cosmetics and other personal care products to absorb moisture, and has been since 1894. It is also used in a variety of other products, including paint and plastic. Johnson & Johnson has also been a subject of much discussion by health and consumer groups over probable carcinogens in other products, including baby shampoo.
If you or a loved one have fallen ill as a direct result of faulty products, the attorneys of Hodes Milman Liebeck can provide you with the assistance you need. Contact us today online at hml.law or call 866-730-1976 for a complimentary case evaluation.