Johnson & Johnson Settles Talcum Powder Lawsuit for $700 Million

by | Jun 13, 2024 | Defective Product, Product Liability, Safety

In a significant development, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has agreed to a $700 million nationwide settlement to address allegations that the company misled consumers regarding the safety of its talcum-based powder products. This talcum powder lawsuit settlement aims to resolve widespread accusations related to the company’s marketing practices.

Below, the product liability attorneys at Kherkher Garcia provide an update given the recent lawsuit. We will also provide a comprehensive overview of the issues surrounding talcum powder and how the lawsuits originated.

J&J Talcum Powder Lawsuit Update

Kwame Raoul, the Illinois Attorney General and one of the 43 attorneys general involved in the lawsuit, emphasized the importance of transparency for consumers.

“Consumers rely on accurate information when making decisions about which products to purchase for their families,” Raoul stated on Tuesday. “Any company — no matter how large — must be held accountable when laws protecting consumers are broken and their trust is violated.”

As part of the settlement, which awaits judicial approval, J&J will cease the manufacturing, promotion, and sale of all baby powder and other body and cosmetic products containing talcum powder. This includes popular products such as Johnson’s Baby Powder and Johnson & Johnson’s Shower to Shower. The company had already withdrawn talc-based powders from the North American market in 2020.

The settlement outlines that J&J will make four payments to 42 states and Washington, D.C., beginning at the end of July. Erik Hass, J&J’s worldwide vice president of litigation, reaffirmed the company’s commitment to resolving the ongoing talc litigation.

“We continue to pursue several paths to achieve a comprehensive and final resolution of the talc litigation. This progress includes the finalization of a previously announced agreement with a consortium of 43 State Attorneys Generals to resolve their talc claims,” Hass said. “We will continue to address the claims of those who do not want to participate in our contemplated consensual bankruptcy resolution through litigation or settlement.”

The $700 million settlement is the latest chapter in a protracted legal saga that has spanned over a decade, involving more than 50,000 claims. Most claims were filed by women who developed ovarian cancer, allegedly, due to the company’s talcum powder.

Other Talcum Powder Lawsuit Verdicts and Settlements

Recently, significant verdicts have been awarded in related cases. Earlier this month, a jury in Oregon awarded $260 million to a woman who claimed that J&J’s baby powder products were directly responsible for her cancer diagnosis in 2003. In April, another jury awarded $45 million to the family of an Illinois woman who died in 2020 from mesothelioma, purportedly caused by asbestos in J&J powder.

In a related move last month, J&J offered to pay $6.5 billion to settle the talc-powder lawsuits, highlighting the company’s ongoing efforts to address these legal challenges comprehensively.

A Comprehensive Overview of  the J&J Talcum Powder Lawsuit

Johnson & Johnson (J&J), a renowned name in the health and personal care industry, has faced a series of high-profile lawsuits and allegations over the safety of its talcum powder products. These legal challenges primarily focus on claims that the company’s products are linked to serious health issues, including ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. Some products include Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower.

The Origins of the Controversy

The controversy surrounding J&J’s talcum powder products dates back several decades. Talcum powder is made from talc, a mineral composed of magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. In its natural form, talc can sometimes contain asbestos, a substance known to cause cancer. Although J&J and other companies have maintained that their talc products are asbestos-free, numerous lawsuits allege that long-term use of these powders has led to severe health consequences.

Health Concerns and Scientific Evidence

The primary health concerns associated with talcum powder involve ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. Ovarian cancer plaintiffs argue that regular use of talcum powder in the genital area led to cancer. These claims are supported by some scientific studies that suggest a potential link between talc and cancer. The evidence remains inconclusive and contentious within the scientific community.

Mesothelioma, on the other hand, is a rare but aggressive cancer linked directly to asbestos exposure. Several lawsuits claim that J&J’s talcum powder contained trace amounts of asbestos, causing users to develop this lethal form of cancer.

Major Lawsuits and Verdicts

The legal battles over J&J’s talcum powder products have resulted in numerous significant verdicts and settlements:

  • Ovarian Cancer Cases: One of the most notable cases occurred in 2018 when a Missouri jury awarded $4.69 billion to 22 women who alleged that asbestos in J&J’s talcum powder caused their ovarian cancer. This verdict, among others, highlighted the scale of the alleged harm and the juries’ willingness to hold the company accountable.
  • Mesothelioma Cases: In April 2023, a jury awarded $45 million to the family of an Illinois woman who died from mesothelioma. The lawsuit claimed that her exposure to asbestos in J&J’s baby powder led to her illness.
  • Recent Developments: In June 2024, a jury in Oregon awarded $260 million to a woman who argued that the company’s baby powder was directly responsible for her cancer diagnosis.

Broader Implications and Future Outlook

The legal challenges faced by J&J have broader implications for the industry and consumers. These cases underscore the importance of rigorous safety testing and transparent communication about potential health risks associated with consumer products. They also highlight the need for regulatory oversight to ensure that companies adhere to safety standards. For consumers, the lawsuits have prompted increased scrutiny of talc-based products and a shift towards alternative products. Many individuals are now opting for talc-free powders, which are perceived as safer options.

What are the Hazards of Exposure to Talc?

Talcum powder, a widely used product in personal care, has been the subject of health concerns and scientific scrutiny for several decades. Composed primarily of the mineral talc, talcum powder is valued for its moisture-absorbing and friction-reducing properties. However, various health risks associated with its use have come to light, particularly in relation to cancer. Here, we outline the primary hazards linked to talcum powder exposure:

Ovarian Cancer

One of the most significant and widely publicized hazards associated with talcum powder is its potential link to ovarian cancer. Studies have suggested that regular use of talcum powder in the genital area may increase the risk of ovarian cancer. This risk is thought to arise from talc particles traveling through the reproductive system to the ovaries, where they can cause inflammation and potentially contribute to the development of cancerous cells. However, the scientific community remains divided on this issue, with some studies indicating a possible association and others finding no significant link.

Respiratory Issues

Inhalation of talcum powder can lead to respiratory problems, particularly in infants. Talc particles can cause irritation in the lungs, leading to conditions such as:

  • Talcosis: A form of pneumoconiosis caused by inhaling talc dust, leading to lung inflammation and scarring.
  • Respiratory Distress: Particularly in babies, inhalation of talc can lead to serious respiratory issues, including difficulty breathing and, in severe cases, acute respiratory failure.


Mesothelioma is a rare but aggressive cancer primarily associated with asbestos exposure. Talc, in its natural form, can sometimes be contaminated with asbestos. Although companies have taken measures to ensure that cosmetic talc is asbestos-free, concerns remain about trace amounts that could potentially cause harm. Inhalation of asbestos-contaminated talc can lead to the development of mesothelioma, affecting the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart.

Pulmonary Talcosis

Chronic inhalation of talcum powder can lead to a condition known as pulmonary talcosis. This lung disease is characterized by the buildup of talc particles in the lungs. This leads to inflammation, fibrosis, and impaired lung function. Symptoms can include chronic cough, chest pain, and difficulty breathing.

Dermal Irritation

While less severe than respiratory or cancer risks, talcum powder can also cause skin irritation in some individuals. Prolonged use on sensitive skin areas can lead to rashes, dryness, and inflammation, especially in those with pre-existing skin conditions or allergies.

For those concerned about these risks of using talc products, alternative products such as cornstarch-based powders may offer a safer option. Additionally, ongoing scientific research and regulatory scrutiny are essential to fully understand and mitigate the hazards associated with talcum powder use.

Get More Information about Talc Injuries and Lawsuits

As legal proceedings continue for Johnson & Johnson, they serve as a stark reminder of the critical importance of product safety and corporate responsibility in the health and personal care industry. Unfortunately, numerous consumers have already been harmed by products they believed to be safe.

Anyone with questions about talc injuries or lawsuits should contact a product liability attorney to address their concerns and get answers to any questions. The attorneys at Kherkher Garcia can help consumers understand their legal rights, and determine if they qualify to participate in a talcum powder lawsuit.

To learn more, contact Kherkher Garcia for a free consultation with a product liability attorney. Call 713-333-1030, or complete our online contact form to get started.


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Steve Kherkher

Steve Kherkher

Founding Partner and Trial Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Injury Trial Lawyer and Founding Firm Partner Steve Kherkher. Steve has been a practicing injury lawyer for more than 30 years. He has won $300 Million+ in Settlements and Verdicts for his clients. He is a force to be reckoned with in the courtroom and the trial lawyer you want on your side if you or a loved one have been catastrophically injured.

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