Attorney General James Helps Secure $700 Million from Johnson & Johnson Over Products that Contained Dangerous Talcum Powder

J&J Sold Talc-Laced Products, Settlement Requires J&J to Stop Manufacturing and Selling Talc-Laced Baby and Body Powder
New York to Receive $44 Million from Multistate Settlement

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James and a bipartisan coalition of 42 attorneys general today secured $700 million from Johnson & Johnson (J&J) for deceptively marketing and selling baby powder and body powder products that contained dangerous talcum powder. New York will receive $44 million from the consent judgment with J&J. For years, J&J targeted beauty salons and churches in communities of color with advertisements about its baby and body powder products that contained talcum powder. Talcum powder can cause serious health concerns, including ovarian cancer and lung problems. The coalition had alleged that J&J misled consumers about the safety and purity of some of its products in its advertisements. Today’s $700 million consent judgment filed in New York State Supreme Court resolves claims against J&J and requires the company to stop manufacturing and selling its baby powder and body powder products that contain talcum in the United States. 

“Targeting communities with cosmetic products that contain dangerous substances is not just illegal, it is very cruel,” said Attorney General James. “No amount of money can undo the pain caused by Johnson & Johnson’s talc-laced products, but today families can rest assured that the company is being held accountable for the harm it caused, and its dangerous products will no longer be on shelves in New York. Those that prey on our communities, hurt their health, and violate our laws will be met with the full force of my office.” 

J&J sold baby powder and body powder products containing talcum powder in New York and across the country for decades. Talcum powder products pose significant health risks, including links to cancer, primarily due to potential asbestos contamination, a known carcinogen. J&J’s products that contained talcum powder included, but were not limited to, Johnson’s Baby Powder and J&J’s Shower to Shower. After the coalition of states began investigating, the company stopped distributing and selling these products in the United States in 2020. 

In addition to paying $700 million to 42 states over three years, J&J agrees to permanently stop manufacturing, selling, promoting or distributing any products containing talcum powder either directly or through a third party in the United States.

Joining Attorney General James are the attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawai’i, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia. 

Today’s settlement is the latest action by Attorney General James to protect consumers and hold companies accountable for misleading practices. In May 2024, Attorney General James and a multistate coalition of 50 attorneys general secured over 410 million for AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless for misleading millions of Americans with deceptive advertisements about "unlimited" data plans and "free" phones. Also in May, a federal judge accepted a jury's finding that Quincy Bioscience made fraudulent and deceptive statements about its supplement, Prevagen, leading to a permanent injunction against the company's deceptive advertising. In August 2023, Attorney General James and the Federal Trade Commission secured $1.6 million from an online apartment finder for defrauding consumers with false marketing of available rooms. In October 2019, Attorney General James announced a multistate settlement, along with 41 additional attorneys general, requiring Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Ethicon, Inc. to pay nearly $117 million for the deceptive marketing of transvaginal surgical mesh devices that endangered the health of women across New York and the rest of the nation. 

For New York, this matter was handled by Special Counsel Mary Alestra under the supervision of Bureau Chief Jane M. Azia of the Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau. The Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau is part of the Division of Economic Justice led by Chief Deputy Attorney General Chris D’Angelo and overseen by First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.