Johnson & Johnson offers $8.9B to settle talc baby powder lawsuit

Johnson & Johnson said it has agreed to pay $8.9 billion to settle claims that talc in its popular baby powder caused cancer.

The settlement, which Johnson & Johnson proposed in a statement Tuesday, would be paid out to creditors over 25 years through a subsidiary, which filed for Chapter 1[ads1]1 bankruptcy to set up a mechanism for the payments.

Johnson & Johnson said the settlement and bankruptcy filing did not mean it “has changed its longstanding position that its talcum powder products are safe.” The company has long denied claims that its products containing talc – a mineral used to absorb moisture – cause cancer.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, research has shown “a possible link between the use of powders containing talc in the genital area and the occurrence of ovarian cancer”, but studies have not “unequivocally shown such a link”. The FDA says there is a “potential for contamination of talc with asbestos,” but Johnson & Johnson has said its products do not contain asbestos, a known carcinogen.

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