A St. Louis jury awarded Deborah Giannecchini of California $70 million in her lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, finding negligent conduct in the development and advertising of the company’s baby powder. Ms. Giannecchini claimed that her prolonged use of the product was the cause of her ovarian cancer.
A spokeswoman for Johnson & Johnson stated, “The company will appeal the verdict. ” According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), 22,280 new cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year. The ACS says that based on studies, there has been no significant link between the use of talcum powder and ovarian cancer. The organization further states, that “for any individual woman, if there is an increased risk, the overall increase is likely to very be small.” However, the organization said that research is continuing.
According to Jim Onder, the attorney for Giannecchini, research and case studies indicate that women who use baby powder for feminine hygiene are at a 40 percent higher risk of developing ovarian cancer. Onder represented Giannecchini as well as two other clients earlier this year in lawsuits about talcum powder where the Saint Louis jury granted a combined award of $127 million.
Two similar lawsuits were thrown out of court in New Jersey when a judge found that the evidence that talcum powder leads to ovarian cancer was not reliable. Research indicates that factors such as obesity, estrogen therapy, age, and family history, among others increase a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer has not thoroughly reviewed the effects of talcum powder but classifies it as “possibly carcinogenic” when used on the genitals. Talcum powder has been utilized in the United States since 1894 when Johnson & Johnson first sold Baby Powder. It has also been used in many cosmetic products because its soft texture allows for the absorption of moisture.
The verdicts in Saint Louis are the first talcum powder cases to make a financial award.
If you or your loved one are suffering from ovarian cancer and believe it may have been caused by talcum powder contact the knowledgeable personal injury attorneys at Sakkas, Cahn & Weiss, LLP at (212) 571-7171 to assist you.