A lawsuit in America has given rise to a frightening thought: that talcum powder could be causing hundreds of cases of ovarian cancer.
Johnson & Johnson – the brand behind one of the most popular talcs in the world – was ordered to pay Eva Echeverria £324 million after evidence proved a link between their baby powder and ovarian cancer.
Echeverria had used the powder for feminine hygiene every day from the 1950s up until 2016. She was diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer in 2007.
In the lawsuit, the 63-year-old’s cancer was said to be a “proximate result of the unreasonably dangerous and defective nature of talcum powder.”
Currently in hospital undergoing treatment, she said that she hoped the positive verdict would encourage Johnson & Johnson to put warnings on its products.
“Mrs Echeverria is dying from this ovarian cancer and she said to me all she wanted to do was to help the other women throughout the whole country who have ovarian cancer for using Johnson & Johnson for 20 and 30 years,’ her attorney Mark Robinson said.
“She really didn’t want sympathy. She just wanted to get a message out to help these other women.”
Evidence presented in the trial included internal documents that proved Johnson & Johnson “knew about the risks of talc and ovarian cancer.”
“Johnson & Johnson had many warning bells over a 30 year period but failed to warn the women who were buying its product,” Robinson added.
Echeverria isn’t the first woman to take on the mega brand. Over 1000 other women have filed similar lawsuits.
In May, one Missouri resident – who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012 – was awarded £86 million. She had been using Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder for over 40 years.
A spokeswoman for the company said that they are planning to appeal the decision, noting that scientific evidence proves that their baby powder is safe for all to use.
“Ovarian cancer is a devastating diagnosis and we deeply sympathise with the women and families impacted by this disease,” Carol Goodrich told Yahoo Style. “We will appeal today’s verdict because we are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder.”
“In April, the National Cancer Institute’s Physician Data Query Editorial Board wrote, ‘The weight of evidence does not support an association between perineal talc exposure and an increased risk of ovarian cancer.’ We are preparing for additional trials in the US and we will continue to defend the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder.”
Parents are predictably worried about using talc on their children. But one expert has advised not to panic. A spokesman for Australia’s Cancer Council said that parents should go with their gut instinct.
“If parents are gaining what they believe is benefits for their child and even themselves, then this case in the USA shouldn’t make them feel bad about continuing to use that product,” Terry Slevin told Kidspot.
“If however they have any concern about using it, well then they can stop using it and there are other ways they can deal with wet nappies and those kinds of problems.”
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