J&J to Pay $8.9 Billion in Talc Lawsuit Settlements

Talcum powder spilled over table

In a landmark decision, pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) will pay nearly $9 Billion to those who developed cancer after using the company’s talcum powder products.

The decision was made after close to 70,000 people filed talc lawsuits, claiming the use of J&J talcum products led to ovarian cancer and even mesothelioma. The settlement will cover all previous claims against the company and any future claims for the next 25 years. It marks one of the largest product liability settlements in the United States.

The settlement comes after years of J&J avoiding accountability for its dangerous products. Most recently, the company attempted to avoid paying any talc lawsuit settlements through a questionable bankruptcy maneuver.

Thankfully, an appeals court blocked the company’s attempt — one of the last straws before J&J finally yielded to compensate victims and their families.

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Is Talcum Powder Safe?

For decades, consumers were told talcum-based baby powder was safe for use. The mineral talc is effective in absorbing moisture, making it a popular addition to cosmetic and personal hygiene routines.

However, when people began developing serious illnesses years after frequent talcum powder use, the household staple became a known household danger.

Talc lawsuits claim the powder caused various cancers including:

Talc is often contaminated with asbestos because of how the minerals are formed naturally and mined. Asbestos is a well-known carcinogen or cancer-causing substance. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, any talc that contains asbestos is also considered carcinogenic.

Both fibrous and microscopic minerals occur in close proximity to each other. Even with safe mining practices, it’s often unknown whether the source is contaminated asbestos until much later.

J&J continues to argue that talcum powder is safe. However, the company halted all global distribution of its talcum-based powders and switched to corn starch alternatives in 2022.

A Long History of J&J Dodging Accountability

Unfortunately, J&J executives knew of the potential dangers of its talc products for years and continued to reduce costs by canceling proper testing and refusing to add warning labels.

For years, the company silently settled thousands of talc lawsuits and made no commitment to change:

  • In 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) detected asbestos in several batches of J&J’s signature baby powder. Despite efforts to dispute the FDA findings, the company recalled thousands of baby powder bottles from shelves.
  • In 2021, the company set aside $3.9 Billion for victims of its dangerous talcum powder. However, as lawsuits continued to mount in the last few years, J&J put victims and their families through multiple legal hurdles in an effort to avoid liability.
  • In late 2022, J&J attempted to avoid the massive amount of lawsuits and fees by pushing 38,000 talc lawsuits to bankruptcy court, a process known as the Texas two-step. This process was blocked by an appeals court, saying that J&J and its subsidiaries had plenty of money to cover legal liabilities.

Despite this legal history, and J&J’s final decision to settle, the company still refuses to admit its products caused harm, claiming the links between talc and cancer “lack scientific merit.”

Get Help Filing a Talc Lawsuit

This settlement is groundbreaking for victims of J&J’s negligence. Many victims have still not sought legal help — but now is the time to act.

If you used talc-based baby powder regularly and have since been diagnosed with cancer, you may be eligible for compensation from a talc lawsuit.

Sokolove Law has over 40 years of experience holding corporations accountable for the harm they caused. Our talcum powder cancer lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve — at no out-of-pocket cost to you.

Contact us today at (800) 995-1212 or start a free case review to get started.

Sokolove Law Team

Contributing Authors

The Sokolove Law Content Team is made up of writers, editors, and journalists. We work with case managers and attorneys to keep site information up to date and accurate. Our site has a wealth of resources available for victims of wrongdoing and their families.

Last modified: April 7, 2023

  1. New York Times. “Johnson & Johnson Reaches Deal for $8.9 Billion Talc Settlement.” Retrieved April 4, 2023, from https://www.nytimes.com/2023/04/04/business/media/johnson-johnson-talc-settlement.html.
  2. NPR. “Johnson & Johnson proposes paying $8.9 billion to settle talcum powder lawsuits.” Retrieved April 5, 2023, from https://www.npr.org/2023/04/05/1168110404/johnson-proposes-to-settle-talcum-powder-lawsuits
  3. Reuters. “U.S. court rejects J&J bankruptcy strategy for thousands of talc lawsuits.” Retrieved April 4, 2023, from https://www.reuters.com/legal/jjs-ltl-units-bankruptcy-dismissed-by-us-appeals-court-filing-2023-01-30/.