A Missouri jury has awarded more than $70 million to a woman who alleged in a lawsuit that her cancer was caused by Johnson & Johnson baby powder.
Deborah Giannecchini of Modesto, Calif., was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer in 2012. In her suit against Johnson & Johnson, she claimed that her diagnosis was the result of years of using the company's talc-based powder, the Associated Press reports.
"We are pleased the jury did the right thing," Jim Onder, an attorney for Giannecchini, told the AP. "They once again reaffirmed the need for Johnson & Johnson to warn the public of the ovarian cancer risk associated with the product."
This isn't the first time the company has been involved in a lawsuit over its popular baby powder. In February, a Missouri jury ruled that Johnson & Johnson must pay $72 million to the family of the late Jacqueline Fox, who died of ovarian cancer in 2015. And in May, another Missouri jury ruled the company should pay $55 million to a South Dakota woman who survived. But two similar suits in New Jersey were thrown out after a judge deemed there was insufficient evidence linking the mineral talc to ovarian cancer, according to the AP.
So is using baby powder actually a cancer risk? "The data is wishy-washy," Mary Jane Minkin, MD, clinical professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Services at Yale School of Medicine, previously explained to Health. While some studies haven't found any connection between talc powders and ovarian cancers, others suggest a small increase in risk. "And there are lots of different variables in these studies for researchers to consider," she said. (For more on what's currently known about the possible link, check out "Can Using Baby Powder Down There Really Cause Cancer?")
Johnson & Johnson maintains there is no danger in using its product. The company sent a statement to the AP about the most recent lawsuit: "We deeply sympathize with the women and families impacted by ovarian cancer," spokeswoman Carol Goodrich said. "We will appeal today's verdict because we are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson's Baby Powder."