Attorney General Schwalb Announces Johnson & Johnson Will Pay $700 Million for Deceiving Customers About Dangerous Baby Powder Products

Multistate Settlement Forces J&J to Stop Manufacturing Talc Products Linked to Serious Health Issues and Pay the District Over $3 Million

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Attorney General Brian L. Schwalb and 42 other state attorneys general reached a $700 million nationwide settlement with Johnson & Johnson to resolve allegations of deceptive marketing practices for baby powder and body powder products containing talc.

“District residents and customers nationwide deserve the truth about products they’re purchasing, especially products geared towards children,” said Attorney General Schwalb. “With this bipartisan, multistate settlement, we’re holding Johnson & Johnson financially accountable for decades of harm inflicted on consumers through deceptive marketing tactics, and we’re ensuring that products that have been linked to serious health problems are no longer on the market.”

The settlement addresses allegations that Johnson & Johnson intentionally misled consumers in advertisements related to the safety and purity of some of its talc powder products. As part of the lawsuit, Johnson & Johnson will stop the manufacture and sale in the United States of its baby powder and body powder products that contain talc.

Johnson & Johnson sold such talc products for over one hundred years. After the coalition of states began investigating, the company stopped distributing and selling these products in the US and more recently ended global sales. The investigation found that asbestos was present in the talc, and that the company failed to disclose that the asbestos in the talc is harmful and may lead to cancer.  While this lawsuit targeted the deceptive marketing of these products, numerous other lawsuits filed by private plaintiffs in class actions raised allegations that talc causes serious health issues such as mesothelioma and ovarian cancer.

Under the agreement, Johnson & Johnson will:

  • Permanently stop manufacturing, marketing, promoting, selling, and distributing in the US all baby and body powder products and cosmetic powder products that contain talcum powder, including, but not limited to, Johnson’s Baby Powder and Johnson & Johnson’s Shower to Shower.
  • Pay $700 million to the states, including $3,051,110.51 to the District.

Attorney General Schwalb is joined by the Attorneys General of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The full settlement is available here.

This matter was handled for the District by Gary Tan, Assistant Attorney General, Kevin Vermillion, Deputy Director of the Office of Consumer Protection, and Adam Teitelbaum, Director of the Office of Consumer Protection.