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Attorney General Josh Stein Leads 43 Bipartisan Attorneys General in Reaching $700 Million Talc Settlement with Johnson & Johnson

For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Nazneen Ahmed (919) 716-0060

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein led a bipartisan coalition of 43 attorneys general in reaching a landmark $700 million nationwide settlement with Johnson & Johnson to resolve allegations that it deceptively marketed the safety and purity of its baby and body powder products containing talc. As part of the investigation and resulting settlement, which is pending approval by a judge, Johnson & Johnson stopped manufacturing and selling talc-containing powder in the United States. North Carolina will receive $27 million as a result of this agreement, which Attorney General Stein is urging the legislature to use to fund women’s cancer research.

“Companies cannot deceive people about the safety of the products they are selling,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “People need to have accurate information so they can buy the right products for their health. I’m pleased that Johnson & Johnson will not be selling these questionable products anymore, and I urge the General Assembly to use these funds to help protect women’s health.”

Medical research has linked the use of talc powder to ovarian cancer. In North Carolina, ovarian cancer is the eighth-leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women. Only about half of North Carolina women diagnosed with ovarian cancer survive, and more than 400 are projected to die because of ovarian cancer in 2024. Further, there are disparities in access to treatment and higher mortality rates for women of color. Attorney General Josh Stein is asking the General Assembly to direct these funds to NCDHHS for its Ovarian Cancer Strategic Response Initiative to implement prevention, screening, surveillance, and early diagnosis, particularly in underserved and rural communities.

Johnson & Johnson sold these products for more than 100 years – the company only stopped the sale after the attorneys general began their investigation. While the states’ lawsuit targeted the deceptive marketing of these products, numerous other lawsuits filed by private plaintiffs in class actions alleged that talc causes serious health issues including mesothelioma and ovarian cancer.

Under the proposed agreement, Johnson & Johnson has ceased and will not resume the manufacturing, marketing, promotion, sale, and distribution of 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 in the United States. Additionally, Johnson & Johnson will permanently stop manufacturing, marketing, promoting, selling, or distributing these products in the United States, either directly or through a third party.

Attorney General Stein and the Attorneys General of Florida and Texas led the settlement. They were joined by the Attorneys General of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, 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, and Wisconsin.

A copy of the complaint is available here.