Johnson & Johnson will pay a $700 million settlement to end an investigation by 42 states and Washington D.C. into statements the company made about the safety of baby powder.
Importantly, the settlement does not affect more than 50,000 individual lawsuits the company is facing involving people who developed cancer.
These lawsuits accuse Johnson & Johnson of misleading consumers about the safety of talcum powder, a substance that is frequently contaminated with asbestos.
Most of the lawsuits involve women who developed ovarian cancer after using talc-based baby powder for feminine hygiene.
Other lawsuits involve people who were diagnosed with mesothelioma, an aggressive type of lung cancer that is linked to asbestos exposure.
Johnson & Johnson did not admit any wrongdoing in offering the $700 million settlement, but a spokesperson for the company said it is an “important step” to put the matter in the past.
The company completely stopped selling talc-based baby powder products worldwide in 2021, switching to cornstarch-based ingredients instead.