STATEMENT: Johnson & Johnson proposes to settle talc claims for nearly $9 billion

Media Contacts
Matt Casale

Former Director, Environment Campaigns, PIRG

DENVER — The personal products maker Johnson & Johnson announced Tuesday in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it would contribute $8.9 billion to settle what it called “the North America talc claims.” Thousands of Americans have sued J&J over the years, alleging that the company’s baby powder contributed to their cancer.

J&J stopped selling its talc-based baby powder in the U.S. and Canada in 2020. J&J has neither admitted fault in any of the cases, nor in the SEC filing.

Talc and asbestos, a known carcinogen, are often found near each other in nature, so when we mine for talc, sometimes we get asbestos with it.

In response, PIRG Environment Campaigns Director Matt Casale released the following statement:

“While the plaintiffs can’t get their health back, hopefully the money will help them with their medical bills and quality of life. At least Johnson & Johnson’s talc powder is off the market in the U.S. Even though companies have known about the link between talc and asbestos since the 1950s, some companies still use talc in cosmetics and other personal products on the market. 

“The Personal Care Products Council’s Consumer Commitment Code vows that: ‘A company should market cosmetics products only after ensuring every ingredient and finished product has been substantiated for safety.’ But adhering to the code is voluntary, not binding. We need the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to more stringently regulate potentially dangerous consumer  products — and that should include a ban on talc.”