Johnson & Johnson, Bausch Health Co., Walgreens Co., Target and a number of other retailers were named defendants in a California Prop 65 talc lawsuit claiming that the companies failed to properly label talcum products with warnings that the talc products contained carcinogenic ingredients.

California Prop 65 requires retailers to properly label all carcinogenic ingredients containing products with warnings so that consumers are aware of the risks associated with the product.

According to the complaint, a multitude of research clearly shows talc – which is the main ingredient used in baby powders and body powders – is known to be contaminated with such carcinogens as lead, arsenic, and hexavalent chromium.

The plaintiffs claim that the defendants failed to meet these requirements, hiding the facts from “unsuspecting customers”. While these products do list “talc” as a primary ingredient, the complaint alleges that industry definition required of talc “expressly includes” trace amounts of arsenic, lead and hexavalent chromium.

“By including these carcinogens and reproductive toxins in the specification for ‘talc,’ the industry has misleadingly marketed talcum powder products as containing pure talc and has actively and knowingly taken steps to conceal the presence of [carcinogens] from consumers,” one plaintiff explained. “The industry has done so with a profiteering motive, knowing that full disclosure would lead to a significant loss in sales and, even more likely, the removal of talcum powder products from the market.”

Plaintiffs involved in the lawsuit are seeking an injunction that forces the defendants as well as other talc-product retailers to include a Prop 65 cancer warning on talc products.

Plaintiffs have also made a demand for damages, for which the amount remains disclosed.

This is a public health crisis that has gone unchecked for decades,” said the plaintiffs’ representative Trent Miracle of Simmons Hanly Conroy. “The defendants, who represent brands trusted by millions of consumers, have to be held accountable for causing so much harm and putting so many more people at risk.”

Other defendants named in the talc lawsuit include Dolgen LLC, Sanofi SA, Walmart, CVS Pharmacy Inc., and Davion Inc.

The lawsuit is filed in the Superior Court of California for the County of Los Angeles.


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