Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay $100 million to resolve more than 1,000 product liability lawsuits filed on behalf of consumers who claim that the company’s talc-based baby powder products caused them to develop cancer. With some 20,000 talcum powder lawsuits still pending against the company, this marks the first of what may be several significant settlements by Johnson & Johnson over the alleged cancer risk linked to its signature talc product, which the company maintains is safe and does not cause cancer. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, mesothelioma or another type of cancer following years of baby powder use, contact us today to find out if you are eligible to file a talcum powder lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson.
This $100 million talcum powder settlement comes seven months after Johnson & Johnson last faced a jury examining evidence about the alleged risk of cancer associated with its talc-based baby powder. J&J used this break, which was triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, to hold settlement talks, a move some say is part of the company’s strategy to get ahead of the growing litigation. And while Johnson & Johnson has agreed to resolve more than 1,000 talcum powder lawsuits, the settlement does not include an admission of liability or wrongdoing. “In certain circumstances, we do choose to settle lawsuits, which is done without an admission of liability and in no way changes our position regarding the safety of our products,” said J&J spokesperson Kim Montagnino in an emailed statement. “Our talc is safe, does not contain asbestos and does not cause cancer.”
Despite J&J’s claims that its talcum powder products do not cause cancer, tens of thousands of former users say that they developed mesothelioma and ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder and that the company knew about this cancer risk and failed to warn consumers. An investigation published by the New York Times in 2018 supports this allegation, indicating that Johnson & Johnson had for nearly 50 years been aware of the potential for its talc products to be tainted with asbestos and chose to keep this information from the public. Mesothelioma and ovarian cancer have been reported by long-time talcum powder users and both diseases have linked to exposure to asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral made up of soft, flexible fibers that are resistant to heat, corrosion and electricity. These qualities make asbestos a valuable mineral for certain commercial and industrial uses, but they also make asbestos exposure dangerous to human health. What J&J refuses to admit is that asbestos, a known carcinogen, is often found near talc in the earth and can easily contaminate talc during mining.
Even while maintaining that its talcum powder product is safe for consumer use, Johnson & Johnson stopped selling talc-based baby powder in the United States and Canada in May 2019, replacing it with a cornstarch version. The company claimed that the decision was “due in large part to changes in consumer habits and fueled by misinformation around the safety of the product and a constant barrage of litigation advertising.” Later that year, Johnson & Johnson recalled 33,000 bottles of its baby powder after trace amounts of asbestos were found in a bottle purchased from an online retailer. Even upon issuing the talcum powder recall, J&J steadfastly denied the presence of asbestos in its talc products, claiming that “Thousands of tests over the past 40 years repeatedly confirm that our consumer talc products do not contain asbestos.” The company also indicated that it had “immediately initiated a rigorous, thorough investigation” into the contaminated sample and was working with the FDA to “determine the integrity of the tested sample, and the validity of the test results.”
After this settlement, which resolves more than 1,000 talcum powder lawsuits, Johnson & Johnson will still face approximately 20,000 lawsuits alleging a cancer risk from its talc-based powder products. If you or someone in your family developed cancer allegedly caused by Johnson & Johnson talcum powder, do not hesitate to speak to an experienced talcum powder cancer lawyer about your legal options. This $100 million settlement is the first set of major settlements in four years of ongoing litigation over the alleged risk of cancer from J&J’s talcum powder, and it marks the first time the pharmaceutical giant has settled the vast majority of a plaintiff lawyer’s cases, as opposed to settling individual lawsuits prior to or during trial. Contact us today to learn more about pursuing compensation through a talcum powder cancer claim.