Is lack of warning labels part of defective products liability?

On Behalf of | May 14, 2015 | Product Liability |

In Hawaii and elsewhere in the United States, a manufacturer can potentially be held liable for placing a purchasable item into the hands of consumers if there is a known risk associated with use of that item. Use of defective products can sometimes lead to serious injury, illness or, in worst case scenarios, even death. A recent controversy has arisen regarding a suspected link between normal use of a certain talcum powder product and ovarian cancer in women.

According to reports, more than 700 victims (including surviving family members of deceased victims) have filed legal claims against the Johnson & Johnson company. The lawsuits state that the product makers are aware of a serious risk involving use of its talcum powder in the normal course of daily feminine hygiene. One woman, who suffers from stage III ovarian cancer, claims that upon personal research after her diagnosis, she was shocked to discover an ample amount of information in medical journals that cited many studies since the 1980’s that suggest a higher-than-average rate of ovarian cancer in women who regularly dusted themselves with talcum powder on a daily basis.

Because Johnson & Johnson advertises its talcum powder as safe to use on babies’ skin, as well as promotes daily use of the powder for feminine hygiene, the woman, and others who have filed claims in similar cases, stated that the company must be held liable for failing to warn the public about a known hazardous risk pertaining to use of its product. As early as 1971, British researchers are said to have found talcum powder particles deeply embedded in a number of tumors in ovarian cancer patients. In 2006, an international agency for cancer research reportedly classified talcum powder as a possible carcinogen to human beings.

Johnson & Johnson was found guilty in 2013 for failing to warn the general public about the known risks involved in the use of its talcum powder products. However, the plaintiff in that case was not awarded any damages in connection with the defective products liability ruling. Hawaii residents who have suffered injury or illness after normal usage of a purchased product that did not contain a warning label with regard to a known risk may wish to consult a legal professional who has experience in personal injury cases if they want to consider filing a legal claim in a civil court.

Source:, “Link Between Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer Sparks Growing Legal Battle“, Myron Levin, April 30, 2015