Johnson & Johnson baby powder
Johnson & Johnson baby powder
Now playing
00:59
Johnson & Johnson faces $417 million payout (2017)
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
02:13
Why losing weight might protect you from Covid-19
A selection of fruit ready to eat are displayed at a fruit and vegetable shop on April 12, 2016 in Lille, northern France. / AFP / DENIS CHARLET        (Photo credit should read DENIS CHARLET/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: DENIS CHARLET/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
A selection of fruit ready to eat are displayed at a fruit and vegetable shop on April 12, 2016 in Lille, northern France. / AFP / DENIS CHARLET (Photo credit should read DENIS CHARLET/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:27
New diet can save lives and the planet, study says
this is your brain on pain health orig_00001025.jpg
PHOTO: CNN
this is your brain on pain health orig_00001025.jpg
Now playing
01:39
This is your brain on pain
Now playing
01:42
Here's why you can't stop eating pizza, ice cream and chocolate chip cookies
Now playing
01:10
Trouble sleeping? This may be why
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
02:40
The reality of wine's health benefits
PHOTO: shutterstock
Now playing
01:49
These foods aren't as healthy as you think
Americans are still too fat according to a new study from JAMA. Two in three of Americans are registering as overweight or obese.
PHOTO: Shutterstock
Americans are still too fat according to a new study from JAMA. Two in three of Americans are registering as overweight or obese.
Now playing
01:15
What is obesity?
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
01:17
Why your BMI matters
LONDON - MAY 16:  In this photo illustration a cigarette is seen burning on May 16, 2007 in London. Businesses and shops are gearing up for the introduction of the smoking ban on July 1 in England after similar bans have been introduced in Ireland, Scotland and Wales.  (Photo Illustration by Bruno Vincent/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Bruno Vincent/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images
LONDON - MAY 16: In this photo illustration a cigarette is seen burning on May 16, 2007 in London. Businesses and shops are gearing up for the introduction of the smoking ban on July 1 in England after similar bans have been introduced in Ireland, Scotland and Wales. (Photo Illustration by Bruno Vincent/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:07
What tobacco does to your health (2017)
PHOTO: Photo Illustration/Thinkstock
Now playing
01:12
World blood pressure rises (2016)
Woman pointing to area on mammogram x-ray, close-up
PHOTO: Getty Images/File
Woman pointing to area on mammogram x-ray, close-up
Now playing
01:19
Breast cancer: Know the facts
A surgeon sitting in front of screens of a Focal One device performs a robot-assisted prostate tumorectomy using ultrasound imaging on April 10, 2014 at the Edouard Herriot hospital in Lyon, center France. Focal One is the first robotic HIFU (high intensity focused ultrasound) device dedicated to the focal approach for prostate cancer therapy. According to EDAP TMS SA, a leader in therapeutic ultrasound, it combines the three essential components to efficiently perform a focal treatment: state-of-the-art imaging to localized tumors with the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) combined with real-time ultrasound, utmost precision of robotic HIFU treatment focused only on identified targeted cancer areas, and immediate feedback on treatment efficacy utilizing Contrast-Enhanced Ultrasound Imaging. AFP PHOTO / JEFF PACHOUD        (Photo credit should read JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
A surgeon sitting in front of screens of a Focal One device performs a robot-assisted prostate tumorectomy using ultrasound imaging on April 10, 2014 at the Edouard Herriot hospital in Lyon, center France. Focal One is the first robotic HIFU (high intensity focused ultrasound) device dedicated to the focal approach for prostate cancer therapy. According to EDAP TMS SA, a leader in therapeutic ultrasound, it combines the three essential components to efficiently perform a focal treatment: state-of-the-art imaging to localized tumors with the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) combined with real-time ultrasound, utmost precision of robotic HIFU treatment focused only on identified targeted cancer areas, and immediate feedback on treatment efficacy utilizing Contrast-Enhanced Ultrasound Imaging. AFP PHOTO / JEFF PACHOUD (Photo credit should read JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:21
What is prostate cancer?
PHOTO: Argosy
Now playing
00:53
What is Parkinson's disease?
Now playing
01:38
How Alzheimer's destroys the brain

Story highlights

A jury awarded $417 million to a longtime user of the powder who has ovarian cancer

Johnson & Johnson said it will appeal, "continue to defend the safety" of the product

(CNN) —  

On Monday, a jury awarded a California woman $417 million because she developed ovarian cancer and had used Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder for decades. The award includes $70 million in compensatory damages and $347 million in punitive damages.

Eva Echeverria, a 63-year-old from Los Angeles, said she had been using the powder as a regular part of her feminine hygiene routine since she was 11 years old. She stopped using it in 2016, after she read a news story about another woman who used it and had ovarian cancer.

Echeverria’s is the first of hundreds of similar cases in California to be decided. Juries elsewhere have returned four other verdicts against Johnson & Johnson, and another case in New Jersey was dismissed. There are thousands of similar cases going through state and federal courts right now.

Echeverria testified that had there been a warning label on the product, she would have stopped using it.

The company has no legal obligation to put such a label on its product. Because talcum powder is legally considered a cosmetic, it does not have to undergo a review by the US Food and Drug Administration like a drug would. But it would have to be properly labeled with ingredients and other information, and the product “must be safe for use by consumers under labeled or customary conditions of use,” according to the agency.

Some other talc-based powders on the market carry labels that mention possible risk of ovarian cancer after frequent application in the female genital area.

Scientific studies over the years have produced a mix of results. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, classifies the genital use of talc-based body powder as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” The US National Toxicology Program has not fully reviewed talc as a possible carcinogen, according to the American Cancer Society, which says it isn’t clear whether the products increase a person’s cancer risk.

Join the conversation

  • See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

Johnson & Johnson said in a statement that it will begin the appeals process in the California case.

“Ovarian cancer is a devastating diagnosis and we deeply sympathize with the women and families impacted by this disease,” Carol Goodrich, a representative for Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc., said in a statement. “We will appeal today’s verdict because we are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder. In April, the National Cancer Institute’s Physician Data Query Editorial Board wrote, ‘The weight of evidence does not support an association between perineal talc exposure and an increased risk of ovarian cancer.’ We are preparing for additional trials in the US and we will continue to defend the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder.”