Court case kicks off over claims baby powder caused cancer

Johnson & Johnson faces more than a dozen lawsuits over its talc-based products this year

A US jury has heard opening statements in the latest trial over allegations that Johnson & Johnson's talc-based products, including the company's baby powder, are contaminated with asbestos and cause cancer.

The lawsuit by Terry Leavitt, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2017, is being heard in Alameda Superior Court in Oakland, California.

It is the first of more than a dozen J&J talc cases scheduled for trial in 2019.

The company is facing some 11,700 lawsuits over the safety of talc in its products.

Ms Leavitt's lawyer, Joseph Satterley, accused J&J in his opening statement of knowingly selling a dangerous product, according to an online broadcast by Courtroom View Network.

"The evidence will show that J&J knew about the asbestos risk, and they continued to sell the product, giving consumers no opportunity to protect themselves," he said.