HEALTH

State of Utah reaches settlement with Johnson & Johnson

Jun 13, 2024, 5:00 AM

Johnson & Johnson brand baby powder, one of several products at the center of lawsuits against the ...

FILE - In this April 15, 2011, file photo, a bottle of Johnson's baby powder is displayed. Johnson & Johnson has settled a multistate lawsuit over deceptive marketing practices used to sell products containing talcum powder. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — A coalition of more than 40 attorneys general across the country has reached a settlement with Johnson & Johnson over deceptive marketing for products containing talc. The settlement totals $700 million nationwide, with Utah taking home $7.5 million of that payout.

Lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson

This latest settlement is one of many lawsuits brought against the company due to its use of talcum powder. J&J had sold baby powder containing talc for more than one hundred years. While many lawsuits focused on talcum powder’s detrimental health effects, this case targeted the company’s marketing tactics.

“It is outrageous the company deceptively advertised purity while knowing these household products contained harmful substances that can cause serious health issues, including cancer,” said Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes.

Many studies in recent years have raised concerns about a connection between talcum powder and cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration discovered in 2019 that several talc products were contaminated with asbestos, a known carcinogen. Since then, thousands of lawsuits have been filed against the company, leading to billions in settlements.

An end to talc usage

After investigations began into the company, Johnson & Johnson stopped selling talc products. This new settlement agreement requires that J&J take additional actions. Among those requirements is preventing third parties from selling products containing talc.

Supporters hailed the settlement as a major step forward for consumer protection.

“We are hopeful that this resolution sends a strong message that deceptive practices in advertising and product safety will not be tolerated,” said Commerce Executive Director Margaret Busse.

J&J will give the payout over a period of four years. During that time, Utah will receive approximately $1.88 million every year.

“There is not money sufficient to compensate for all the harm caused,” Reyes said. “But settlement funds paid out to Utah by J&J can be used to help educate parents on health risks to their children and other important consumer protection initiatives.”

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State of Utah reaches settlement with Johnson & Johnson