Science

Woman Wins Baby Powder Lawsuit, Gets $70M In Damages

By Christie Abagon , Oct 28, 2016 05:26 PM EDT

Deborah Giannecchini, 62, from Modesto, California claimed that using Johnson & Johnson baby powder for 40 years gave her ovarian cancer. Similarly, around 2000 women have filed lawsuits against the company.

According to her lawyers, Giannecchini has used the baby powder brand for feminine hygiene until she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer three years ago. She has an 80% chance of dying in the next 2 years.

After deliberating for about 3 hours, jurors ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $65 million in punitive damages and 90 percent of about $2.5 million for medical costs and pain and suffering while the supplier of talc, Imerys Talc America, was hit with $2.5 million in punitive damages.

"We are pleased the jury did the right thing. They once again reaffirmed the need for Johnson & Johnson to warn the public of the ovarian cancer risk associated with its product," Jim Onder, Giannecchini's attorney, said.

Onder also said that case studies show women who regularly use talc on their genital area face up to a 40 percent higher risk of developing ovarian cancer.

International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies the use of talc on the genital area as "possibly carcinogenic." Talc is a mineral mined from deposits all over the world and is a popular ingredient of cosmetics and other personal care products to absorb moisture.

However, J&J will appeal. The company denies any link to talc use and ovarian cancer. Carol Goodrich, company spokeswoman, said, "We are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson's Baby Powder. This verdict serves to undermine efforts by the scientific community to determine the true causes of ovarian cancer. The theories relied upon by plaintiffs' experts lacked scientific foundation. Science, research, clinical evidence and decades of studies by medical experts around the world continue to support the safety of cosmetic talc,'' Goodrich said.

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