Deborah Giannecchini used Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder for personal hygiene since she was in high school, trusting it was safe for everyday use. Now she’s warning other women not to use the product lest they suffer a similar fate as her.
In 2016, Deborah sued Johnson & Johnson alleging that daily use of the talcum powder on her genitals caused her to develop ovarian cancer. If not compensation for her pain and suffering, at the very least she wants the company to put warnings on the label of its talc-containing products the same way generic and off-brand companies have on theirs.
Deborah is now living with terminal ovarian cancer. “That’s what they say. I’m trying to prove that it’s not,” she told CNN. “I don’t wish this on anyone else. And if I can save one life, then I’ve done my job.”
Some companies have added warnings to the labels of their talcum powders, including Spring Fresh Powder, sold at Walmart, which warns, “Medical evidence suggests that women who use talcum powder as a feminine hygiene product run a greater risk of developing ovarian cancer.”
Deborah is among 4,800 women who have sued Johnson & Johnson, makers of Johnson’s Baby Powder. The lawsuits claim that the consumer health care giant knew for decades that its talc contained cancer-causing minerals and could contribute to the development of ovarian cancer. But the company failed to reveal this information to consumers.
Other companies have also been hit with lawsuits, including Valeant Pharmaceuticals, which now owns Shower to Shower (previously owned by Johnson & Johnson), and Johnson & Johnson’s talc supplier, Imerys Talc America. Chattem Inc., a Sanofi company, is facing similar lawsuits over its Gold Bond talcum powder.
“It’s very powerful to see warning labels on other talc body powder products,” said Ted Meadows, principal at Beasley Allen Law Firm. “Why can’t Johnson & Johnson do the same? Why don’t they allow women the opportunity to make an informed choice?”