It hast taken only two days for an LA court to rule on a lawsuit alleging that Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder might be linked to cancer. Or, rather, jurors have awarded the personal care company to award Eva Echeverria, a settlement of $70 million in compensatory damages, as well as $347 million in punitive damages due to a connection between the baby powder use and ovarian cancer.
An East LA native, the 63-year-old Echeverria, is only one of several thousand who have come out to sue the consumer products giant with claims that their baby powder caused ovarian cancer, pointing mostly at studies that connects link to cancer. These studies date back as far back as 1971, when scientists in Wales found particles of talc actually embedded in cervical and ovarian cancer tumors.
One of these studies, in 2000, was conducted at Harvard University as part of the National Nurses Health Study. This study looked at 121,000 women, including 78,630 who had also said they used talc, alone. Of these women, eventually 307 received an ovarian cancer diagnosis.
Only a few of these lawsuits have actually gone to trial but, so far, most of these decisions have been in favor of the plaintiffs. For one, a Missouri jury awarded a Virginia woman $110 million back in May, only a year after Missouri juries also awarded $55 million and $72 million to a woman who had actually died before getting the verdict.
In response to the verdict, attorney Mark Robinson commented, “We are grateful for the jury’s verdict on this matter and that Eva Echeverria was able to have her day in court,” accusing Johnson & Johnson of “covering up the truth for so many years.”
Almost immediately, Johnson & Johnson announced plans to seek to overturn the verdict. In a statement, the company said, “We will appeal today’s verdict because we are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder.”
During the trial, J&J lawyers argued that several previous scientific studies—in addition to federal agencies, including the United States Food and Drug Administration—had not identified that talc products may be carcinogenic.
“Ovarian cancer is a devastating diagnosis and we deeply sympathize with the women and families impacted by this disease,” explains Carol Goodrich, who is the spokeswoman for Johnson & Johnson. She added, “We will appeal today’s verdict because we are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder.”