Healthcare supply company Johnson & Johnson has been hit with a third lawsuit multimillion-dollar lawsuit over its baby powder. There have been questions that have come up surrounding Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder and whether or not it can cause ovarian cancer if it is applied regularly for feminine hygiene purposes. Can baby powder cause ovarian cancer?
Lawsuits Against Johnson & Johnson
According to the India Times, a jury in St. Louis awarded Deborah Giannecchini $70.1 million. Giannecchini was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012. At the time she said that she used the company’s baby powder for over 40 years to keep her genital area dry, something many woman practice. Giannecchini blamed the baby powder and accused Johnson & Johnson of negligence.
Two separate trials in St. Louis also awarded plaintiffs $72 million and $55 million. Like Giannechhini, the women believed that their ovarian cancer was caused by the J&J powder. However, in the company’s home state of New Jersey, judges have thrown out two cases blaming Johnson & Johnson for the ovarian cancer. Judges in Jersey say that there is not enough evidence to prove causation.
Since the lawsuits have arose, scientists have begun taking a closer look at J&J baby powder. What have they found? Can baby powder cause ovarian cancer?
Can Baby Powder Cause Ovarian Cancer?
Like most health-related science questions, there is no clear answer as to whether baby powder causes ovarian cancer or not. Most of the biggest studies have shown that there is no evidence to claim that baby powder causes ovarian cancer. In fact, one study showed that baby powder users had a decreased risk of developing ovarian cancer.
While they have not found any direct causation, they have shown a slight correlation. Over the span of about 30 years there has been a slight increase in ovarian cancer among baby powder users (20 to 40 percent).
That slight increase does not prove that baby powder causes ovarian cancer though and there’s science backing that up. There is no proof (yet) that baby powder interacts with chemicals or cells or even travel up the reproductive tract to the ovaries. If baby powder doesn’t cause ovarian cancer, what does?
What causes ovarian cancer?
Well, there are a number of factors at play when anyone develops cancer of any kind. There are a number of know factors that increase a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer. Factors such as age, weight, estrogen, children, genetic mutations and family history all come into play.
While ovarian cancer is one of the most deadly types of cancer around it is relatively rare. Out of the 1.7 million cases of cancer expected to be diagnosed this year it out accounts for about 22,000 (of which baby powder likely caused zero).
Although there have been no scientific findings to back up the claims that J&J baby powder is causing this type of cancer it seems Johnson & Johnson is taking the heat. The next trial regarding J&J baby powder is slated for January and will also be set in St. Louis.
Johnson & Johnson has publicly stated that its product is safe to use and has appealed its three loses in court. The company stands to face 2,000 similar suits in the future, however, J&J investors don’t seem to be concerned about the lawsuits affecting the company’s finances. Johnson & Johnson fell 0.3 percent on Friday, closing at $115.33.