“We use this on children … and it had to be a good thing, right?” Deborah Giannecchini told FairWarning about Johnson’s Baby Powder. Giannecchini was surprised to learn that for decades, Johnson & Johnson knew that it’s Baby Powder and other talc-containing products could cause serious injuries to women but refused to inform women of this risk.
Giannecchini learned this only after being diagnosed with metastatic ovarian cancer. “This is an ugly disease,” she said. “I sure would have appreciated being given the chance to say this is worth the risk or it isn’t.”
Giannecchini is one of about 700 women who have filed lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and other companies claiming the products caused them to develop ovarian cancer. The premise is that when used on the genitals as for personal hygiene, talcum powder can travel up the uterus through the fallopian tubes and into the ovaries where it can inflame tissue and encourage cancerous tumor growth.
Several studies dating back to the 1980s have identified this risk, especially in women who used the powder regularly over several years. One researcher said an estimated 10 percent – or 2,000 – women diagnosed with ovarian cancer could be traced back to talcum powder use.
Johnson & Johnson, however, refutes these claims even as lawsuits mount against the company. The consumer health products giant also says it will not add warning labels on its products to advise women how to safely use the products in order to lower their risk of disease.