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Court Orders Johnson & Johnson To Pay $417 Million Over Talc Cancer Risks

A California jury has ruled in favor of a woman who claimed that she developed ovarian cancer after using the company's talc-based products for feminine hygiene.

Eva Echeverria developed ovarian cancer as a "proximate result of the unreasonably dangerous and defective nature of talcum powder," according to her lawsuit.

The 63-year-old woman was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007. During the 4 week trial she testified that she had been using the powder for more than 40 years, since she was 11-years-old.

"We are grateful for the jury's verdict on this matter and that Eva Echeverria was able to have her day in court," Mark Robinson, her lawyer, said in a statement.

Johnson's baby powder was launched in 1864 for cosmetic and personal care to help absorb moisture on the body.

Talc is a naturally occurring substance that consists of magnesium, silicon, hydrogen and oxygen. Mined from the soil, before 1973, it was often contaminated with asbestos which naturally occurred in the ground.

After the asbestos was removed however, it didn't stop some studies from linking talc with ovarian cancer.

Research still continues to be done to determine the risks of cancer in women who use baby powder.

Eva is undergoing cancer treatment in hospital and hopes that he verdict would lead Johnson and Johnson to include additional warnings on their products to avoid other people from getting sick.

"Mrs. Echeverria is dying from this ovarian cancer and she said to me all she wanted to do was to help the other women throughout the whole country who have ovarian cancer for using Johnson & Johnson for 20 and 30 years," Robinson said.

"She really didn't want sympathy," he added. "She just wanted to get a message out to help these other women."

Evidence shown in the case included internal documents spanning several decades that “showed the jury that Johnson & Johnson knew about the risks of talc and ovarian cancer," according to Robinson.

“Johnson & Johnson had many warning bells over a 30 year period but failed to warn the women who were buying its product,” he said.

The settlement included $68 million in compensation and $340 million in punitive damages.

This is the largest lawsuit to date that alleged Johnson and Johnson failed to properly warn consumers of the cancer risks of talc-based products.

In May, a St. Louis jury awarded $110.5 million to a Virginia woman who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012. She had also been using the company's talcum powder for more than 40 years.

There were 3 other jury trials in St. Louis which reached similar outcomes last year and issued awards totaling $307.6 million.

The $417 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson is the third-largest jury award in the US so far this year.

J&J said that they will appeal the verdict as they support the safety of Johnson's baby powder.

More than 1,000 people have filed similar lawsuits against J&J.

Source: Fox Business / Daily Mail / The Sun / Reuters / The Guardian