Attorney General Bonta Secures $700 Million Settlement with Johnson & Johnson for Misrepresenting Safety of Talc-Based Products

Monday, June 10, 2024
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today, as part of a bipartisan coalition of 42 state attorneys general, announced a $700 million multistate settlement with Johnson & Johnson (J&J) resolving claims that the company violated consumer protection laws by misrepresenting the safety of its talc-based products. Specifically, J&J failed to disclose if asbestos was present in its talc products and that any asbestos present in the products is harmful and may lead to cancer. The proposed settlement, subject to court approval, bars J&J from resuming the manufacture, marketing, promotion, sale, and distribution of talc-based products. J&J stopped selling these products in the United States and Canada in 2020.

“Johnson & Johnson knew that it could not ensure the safety of its products for women and children and chose to prioritize profit over honesty. It's unacceptable, and for the people who were harmed, it's devastating,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Today and every day, I take pride in serving the people of California and holding those who compromise consumer safety accountable.”

Since 1992, J&J sold over 600 million talc products nationwide, marketed primarily as baby powder for infants and genital hygiene products for women. Talc products were marketed as safe and pure despite J&J knowing that it could not ensure the talc used in its powders was free of asbestos.

Long-standing studies have suggested a possible association between the use of powders containing talc in the genital area and the incidence of ovarian cancer. Both talc and asbestos are naturally occurring minerals that may be found in close proximity in the earth. The contamination of talc with asbestos is possible and at times, difficult to determine. Asbestos — a carcinogen that kills more than 12,000 people in the U.S. per year — is linked to diseases that are life threatening, or cause substantial pain and suffering, including mesothelioma, fibrosis, lung cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, as well as other lung disorders and diseases. There is no safe level of exposure to this highly toxic material.

In securing today’s settlement, Attorney General Bonta joins the attorneys general of Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia. 

Attorney General Bonta is committed to investigating and remedying harm to consumers affected by unlawful and deceptive business practices. In May, Attorney General Bonta announced a $10.25 million settlement with major U.S. wireless carriers resolving allegations that the carriers violated consumer protection laws by engaging in deceptive and misleading advertising. Also in May, Attorney General Bonta announced a settlement with Liberty Tax for running deceptive advertisements that misled consumers into thinking they were getting a free advance on their tax refund when they were actually taking out a high-cost loan.

A copy of the proposed stipulated judgment, subject to court approval, can be found here



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