Facts about Talc

The Talc Lawsuits

- what are they about?

You may have heard about juries awarding large verdicts in lawsuits in North America alleging that talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder can cause ovarian cancer or mesothelioma and that, in relation to this, Johnson & Johnson established a new subsidiary called LLT Management LLC (formerly known as LTL Management LLC) (“LLT”) that would be responsible for holding and managing North American legal claims related to the Company’s cosmetic talc.

But you may not know this: in the majority of U.S. jury trials, juries have concluded that Johnson & Johnson’s product was not responsible for the plaintiffs’ cancer. In other instances, judges have dismissed cases outright based on their own review of the facts, and many of the verdicts against Johnson & Johnson that have been through the appellate process have also been overturned.

Despite the evidence presented in court, and the fact that Johnson & Johnson discontinued the sale of Johnson’s Baby Powder in the United States and Canada in 2020, there continue to be more lawsuits filed in North America and a few extraordinary verdicts in U.S. state courts that have contradicted the science. That’s why Johnson & Johnson began a process in October 2021 to resolve these lawsuits in a way that would be reasonable for all involved, including anyone who may have legal claims in North America against Johnson & Johnson currently or in the future. Since that time, Johnson & Johnson has taken numerous actions to achieve its goal of reaching a comprehensive and final resolution of all current and future claims arising from cosmetic talc litigation. You can learn more about this here.

The stories of anyone suffering from any form of cancer are tragic. We sympathize deeply with these patients and their families, and we appreciate that they seek answers. The science and the facts, however, show that their illnesses were not caused by their use of our talc-based products.

We’re a company deeply committed to the good health and long life of every person on Earth. We’re sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, parents and grandparents, just like you. We use our products on ourselves, our children and our grandchildren. We understand we have been trusted with a great responsibility, and we treat that responsibility with great care.

Decades of independent scientific testing have confirmed that our products are safe, do not contain asbestos and do not cause cancer.
We recognize the anxiety and confusion these cases have caused, and that many people who have used and continue to use talc-based products have questions. We also know there will be more discussion. This site is designed to share the facts about talc and these cases, and to help you and your family understand the steps we have taken and why we continue to stand behind the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder.

The Facts

  • Our Safety Commitment Starts with the Talc Mines We Choose

    We are careful at every stage of our process to ensure that the cosmetic talc used in our products is not contaminated with asbestos. Only about 5% of talc is used for cosmetic purposes. The rest is used in industrial materials such as roofing, building materials, or ceramics. Before we decide that any talc mine is qualified to be a source for our talc products, we evaluate the mine with expert geologists who know all the aspects of how and where mineral deposits form.

    Governmental and academic reports on the mines where we have sourced our talc for Johnson’s Baby Powder in the United States and Canada confirm that these talc ores used in our product did not contain asbestos.

  • Allegations About Asbestos In Our Talc Were Proven Wrong Decades Ago

    In the 1970s, preliminary and erroneous reports based on unreliable testing methodology were recounted in the media suggesting that there could be asbestos contamination in our talc. Scientists from all over the world, including those working for the FDA, studied the issue for years and ultimately concluded that Johnson & Johnson’s talc was not contaminated with asbestos.

    As technology advanced, scientists and regulators agreed on methodologies to reliably and accurately test for asbestos in talc. Johnson & Johnson not only meets those standards but exceeds them by using state of the art methodologies to reliably and accurately test for asbestos in talc. This means we’re examining our talc not only through traditional microscopes, but also with electron microscopes that permit extremely high magnifications.

    In the 1970s and 1980s, we gathered samples every hour from our talc processing facilities so that we could test it for asbestos. Samples of ground talc ore were combined and tested at least every month. Samples of this talc that was ready to be packaged were combined and tested at least every other week. And as an additional audit, every quarter, those samples were also tested again.

    There was—and remains—a point to all this testing: The more you repeat a test, the higher level of certainty and assurance you get from that test. If you just test it once, you’d only have a certain level of assurance. Testing week after week over years with the same result affords a high level of confidence that our product does not contain asbestos.

  • Leading Scientists and Regulators Have Tested Our Talc and Confirmed That It Is Safe

    Allegations that our talc could pose a harm to consumers is a concern Johnson & Johnson took very seriously, and we asked a number of independent institutions, laboratories, and universities to test our talc to prove it was free of asbestos. These tests provided evidence that our talc does not contain asbestos. Those institutions include:

  • The FDA's Involvement in Assessing the Safety of Talc

    The FDA’s mission is to protect the public health, including ensuring that cosmetics are safe and properly labeled. Over many decades, the FDA has repeatedly been involved in investigating and testing cosmetic talc, including Johnson & Johnson’s talc. In the 1970s, the FDA conducted a four-year intensive investigation into the issue of whether cosmetic talc products, including Johnson & Johnson’s, were contaminated with asbestos. As a result of this investigation, the FDA concluded that “none of the talcs used in these products [including Johnson & Johnson products] contained asbestos as a contaminant.”

    In 1986, FDA stated there was no reason to put a warning label on cosmetic talc, citing the results of its studies and ongoing surveillance. The FDA stated that even “the risk from a worst case estimate of exposure to asbestos from cosmetic talc would be less than the risk from environmental background levels of exposure to asbestos … over a lifetime.”

    In 2009-2010, the FDA tested raw talc from four talc suppliers—including Johnson & Johnson’s suppliers for our Baby Powder and a previously-divested product Shower to Shower — as well as Johnson's Baby Powder and Shower to Shower, and confirmed that none contained asbestos.

    Again in 2014, when investigating a potential correlation between talc and ovarian cancer, the FDA stated that there was no conclusive evidence that use of talc had a causal relationship with cancer.

    In October 18, 2019, for the first time in the many decades that the FDA has tested Johnson & Johnson’s talc, FDA advised Johnson & Johnson that testing of a single lot of one bottle of Johnson's Baby Powder revealed sub-trace levels of chrysotile asbestos contamination (0.00002%). At the same time, FDA noted that it had not detected asbestos when it sampled a different talc lot. Out of an abundance of caution, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. voluntarily recalled the lot at issue in FDA’s testing. Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. immediately initiated a thorough investigation into the matter and is working with FDA to answer questions about the testing, including the integrity of the tested sample and the validity of the test results.

  • Studies Show Use of Our Talc Is Safe

    Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products, including Johnson’s Baby Powder and its prior product Shower to Shower, have been found to be safe to use by the most reliable scientific studies.

    Ovarian Cancer: Four major independent cohort studies that followed more than 80,000 women who used talcum powder over a period of at least 6 to 24 years to determine if talcum powder use for feminine hygiene causes ovarian cancer concluded that the use of talc is not associated with increased risk of ovarian cancer. Prospective cohort studies are a well-accepted, highly reliable way to investigate whether there is an association between the use of, or exposure to, a product and a disease. In this type of study, groups of people are asked questions about different possible risk factors, including use of certain products, and then followed going forward for a period of time to collect relevant data. Cohort studies have helped scientists understand the link between smoking and lung cancer, high cholesterol and heart disease, and many other health topics we consider common knowledge today.The most recent cohort study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, pooled a number of these high-level epidemiological studies and found no statistically significant increased risk of ovarian cancer with talc use.

    Some studies, called case-control studies have shown a small statistical association between ovarian cancer and talc use, while other similarly designed case-control studies have shown no association between talc use and ovarian cancer. Experts are skeptical of these case-control studies because the results are inconsistent, and when these studies show small positive results it could be due to limitations of the study design. The limitations of these studies include “recall bias,” which is when people with a disease are more likely to remember things in their past than people without a disease. In these case-control studies, the women know they have ovarian cancer, so will try hard to remember anything that might be important to why they got this terrible disease. This can artificially make it look like women with cancer used more talcum powder, when actually it is because they were better at remembering what their feminine hygiene habits had been over the years. Large, prospective studies are considered far more reliable, partly because no woman knows she will get ovarian cancer later—so they would not have any recall bias, and overall no association between talcum powder use and ovarian cancer has been found in these studies.

    Mesothelioma: Mesothelioma is a type of cancer associated primarily with exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that is found in the environment, and small quantities of its fibers are omnipresent in the air.

    There are no sound scientific studies indicating that inhalation of cosmetic talc causes mesothelioma. In fact, several studies of thousands of people who were exposed to talc on a daily basis—through their work mining and milling talc powder—demonstrate that exposure to high levels of talc does not increase a person’s risk of developing mesothelioma.

    Moreover, large-scale reports on patients who had a medical procedure done called talc pleurodesis—where talc is actually injected into their lungs—found that none developed mesothelioma.

Inside the Courtroom

The first high profile trial related to these claims was in 2013, where plaintiffs’ counsel alleged that use of talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder and Johnson & Johnson’s former product Shower to Shower caused a woman to develop ovarian cancer. While the jury found against the Company, it also did not award any compensation.

Since then, there have been several additional trials where juries have awarded significant verdicts against Johnson & Johnson, but many of those verdicts have been overturned on appeal.

Following those initial cases, trial lawyers have since shifted their theory, alleging that Johnson & Johnson’s talc contains asbestos. (The first mesothelioma case was tried in the fall of 2017).

These latest claims go back to flawed news stories in the 1970’s that claimed to detect asbestos in talc based on unreliable methodology. After those reports, an investigation by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, as well as independent testing, contributed to the development of more reliable testing methodologies and confirmed that there was no asbestos in our talcum powder products. Plaintiffs’ attorneys seek to bring back an issue that has already been resolved.

Several of these cases, which are based in part on that earlier information from the 1970s, have already gone to trial. In the majority of cases that reached a jury verdict, the juries have voted in favor of Johnson & Johnson; in others, juries have not been able to reach a verdict; in a small minority of others, the juries have voted in favor of the plaintiffs— including awarding some very large dollar amounts.

With all of the legal cases and the expectation that trial lawyers would continue to bring additional cases against Johnson & Johnson for years to come, the Company established a separate subsidiary, LLT Management LLC (formerly known as LTL Management LLC) (“LLT”), in October 2021. LLT is responsible for holding and managing all liabilities related to Johnson & Johnson’s talc litigation in North America. Also in October 2021, LLT voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey, activating a process designed to equitably and efficiently resolve all talc claims in North America for all parties, including anyone who may have current or future legal claims against the Company. Chapter 11 is a well-established and lawful process in the U.S. to bring parties together to negotiate a resolution to litigation.

The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit dismissed the original filing on legal grounds in a January 2023 ruling, and LLT re-filed for voluntary bankruptcy protection in April 2023 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey. The re-filed case addressed concerns cited by the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in its dismissal and included a reorganization plan of up to $8.9 billion supported by at least 60,000 current claimants. In July 2023, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey’s granted the plaintiffs’ motion to dismiss LLT’s refiled bankruptcy case. However, the Court stated that the Company and LLT had made “remarkable progress” towards “a fair, efficient and expeditious settlement” for all claimants and “strongly encouraged” the pursuit of a comprehensive resolution through another bankruptcy.

The Company and LLT followed that directive, and on May 1, 2024, announced a proposed Plan of Reorganization by LLT for the comprehensive and final resolution of all current and future talc claims related to ovarian cancer arising from cosmetic talc litigation against Johnson & Johnson and its affiliates in the U.S.

The remaining pending personal injury lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and its affiliates relate to mesothelioma and will be addressed outside of the proposed Plan of Reorganization by LLT. Johnson & Johnson already has resolved 95% of mesothelioma lawsuits filed to date. State consumer protection claims will also be addressed outside the Plan of Reorganization by LLT; Johnson & Johnson already has agreements in principle to do so. Finally, and for completeness, Johnson & Johnson has also reached an agreement in principle to resolve all talc-related claims against the Company in the bankruptcy cases filed by suppliers of its talc (Imerys Talc America, Inc., Cyprus Mines Corporation, and their related parties).

Affirmative Litigation

While continuing to work on LLT’s Plan of Reorganization, we are aggressively challenging the abuses of the judicial system by the mass tort bar and its purported experts with our own affirmative litigation. We will shine a light on the mass tort bar efforts to push forward with its multi-million-dollar misinformation campaign by proffering “expert” witnesses during trial who spout claims rooted in junk science.

A Closer Look

  • Plaintiff Trial Lawyers Are Relying on Suspect Facts to Support Their Claims

    Numerous leading independent institutions, laboratories, universities and governmental agencies have all investigated this issue since the 1970s and concluded that there is no asbestos in our cosmetic talc products.

    So, with all of this testing, how are plaintiff trial lawyers claiming that there is asbestos in our product?

    They rely on testimony from witnesses they’ve hired to support their claims with suspect facts in disagreement with independent third parties.

    These same witnesses include individuals who, before they were hired to testify against Johnson & Johnson, had testified under oath that that asbestos in cosmetic talc was "an urban legend."

    For example, witnesses may use flawed scientific methods to test the talc. One of these witnesses has admitted that he would call something he found asbestos “even though it’s not.”

    As another example, they may be testing bottles that may have been contaminated after purchase. One witness tested four bottles of Johnson’s Baby Powder purchased off the shelf from a store. Each tested negative for asbestos. Yet, when he tested bottles received from other sources — many directly from plaintiff trial lawyers purchased on eBay — he claimed some tested positive. A California court prevented this witness from presenting this evidence at trial because they could not confirm the samples were not contaminated.

    Another witness who is currently hired by plaintiff trial lawyers to testify that Johnson’s talc causes mesothelioma, had testified in earlier cases that studies showing Johnson’s talc was not associated with mesothelioma were entirely reliable.

  • Plaintiff Trial Lawyers Are Mischaracterizing Historic Documents

    Our test records—repeated over decades, at levels that surpass government and industry standards—have consistently shown that Johnson’s cosmetic talc does not contain asbestos.

    Plaintiff trial lawyers, however, intentionally create confusion by presenting company documents out of context. In court, cherry-picked portions of historic documents are presented to suggest that they show prior findings of asbestos despite our record of extensive testing of our products. Often, these documents are not related to talc that was used in Johnson & Johnson’s products at all. For example, they point to one document that indicates the presence of asbestos, but that same document clearly states that the asbestos was only related to talc used in industrial materials. Or, they point to a document that shows asbestos in unidentified samples of commercial talc, while ignoring another document revealing that all the Johnson & Johnson samples were found to be uncontaminated with asbestos. Or, they point to a document that shows that there was asbestos in the samples but omit the fact that those samples were purposefully spiked with asbestos for testing purposes.

  • Plaintiff Trial Lawyers Are Promoting Conspiracy Theories

    Plaintiff trial lawyers claim that there was a conspiracy inside Johnson & Johnson to intentionally sell products that we knew contained asbestos. This claim is false. In fact, in order for this accusation to be true, dozens of federal and state government agencies, independent laboratories, scientists, and major universities that tested our products would have also had to have conspired together over the course of 50 years to withhold this information.

More than 5,000 documents have been admitted into evidence in these cases. We invite you to review the evidence and make up your mind.


Johnson & Johnson is publicly presenting on this website documents provided by one or more of the Johnson & Johnson companies that have been used as evidence in trials. These trial exhibits are not confidential, although some may still be stamped with confidentiality branding. We have made efforts to provide the exhibits in the form they were used at trial, (e.g., with highlighting and/or other markings), which may not reflect the way in which they were maintained by the company. This website will be updated periodically.