While many Louisville residents may think only of longtime workers in the asbestos industry when they consider the rare cancer called mesothelioma, one recent verdict points to a far more common risk. Johnson & Johnson, the large pharmaceutical and personal-care products corporation, was ordered to pay $25 million to one woman who sued the company after developing mesothelioma. She said that the malignancy was caused by her daily use of talc-based products produced by the company, particularly J&J Baby Powder and Shower to Shower.

The 66-year-old woman’s case is not yet complete; the company was ordered to pay out $25 million in compensatory damages for her lost wages, medical bills and other expenses, but the jury will return to consider potential punitive damages against the company. The woman alleges that the company knew of the risks associated with talc and mishandled the product. There are over 14,000 pending claims related to the development of mesothelioma after exposure to talc products. J&J denies any link between talc and mesothelioma. It further argues that its products were never contaminated with asbestos.

Verdicts in these lawsuits have been mixed. A South Carolina plaintiff lost her case after she alleged that asbestos had contaminated J&J baby powder, leading to her mesothelioma. J&J lost another case in California but won a case in New Jersey while settling three other claims related to the issue. Ten different plaintiffs have won verdicts after saying they were diagnosed with mesothelioma due to asbestos contamination in Johnson & Johnson talc products.

Mesothelioma is a very rare cancer that is usually linked to permanent lung damage caused by asbestos exposure. Someone who is suffering from mesothelioma can turn to a personal injury lawyer to pursue claims against the parties responsible for asbestos contamination or exposure.