Largest Talcum Powder Companies Sued for Hiding Cancer-Causing Chemicals in Products

Talcum powder spilling from container

Simmons Hanly Conroy sues suppliers and distributors, including Johnson & Johnson, CVS, Target, Walgreens, Walmart and Dollar General, for violating California law

Los Angeles, CA – The largest suppliers and distributors of talcum powder products in the U.S. were sued today in Los Angeles Superior Court, accused of hiding that their products contain excessive levels of dangerous chemicals shown to cause cancer, birth defects or reproductive harm.

The lawsuit was filed by Simmons Hanly Conroy LLC, Abtahi Law Group LLC, and McGowan, Hood & Felder LLC, and involves such popular brands as Johnson’s Baby Power, Gold Bond and Shower to Shower. It also involves private label brands distributed and sold at some of the largest nationwide retailers, including CVS, Dollar General, Target, Walgreens and Walmart.

“This is a public health crisis that has gone unchecked for decades,” said Simmons Hanly Conroy Shareholder Trent Miracle.  “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.”  While specific damages are not requested at this time, Miracle said the amount could total tens of millions of dollars.

The lawsuit alleges a violation of California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, Health and Safety Code section 25249.6, known as “Proposition 65.” Under the law, businesses must provide consumers with a “clear and reasonable warning” before exposing individuals to chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or reproductive harm.

The carcinogenic chemicals and reproductive toxins at issue include arsenic (inorganic oxides); chromium (hexavalent compounds); and lead and lead compounds. These chemicals are listed in Proposition 65 as chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity.

The lawsuit further alleges that efforts to hide talcum powder’s true contents date back to at least 1976, when the talcum powder industry adopted talc “purity standards” designed to hide the presence of carcinogen and reproductive toxins in their products. The redefined talc was to consist of a minimum of 90 percent talc with the remainder “consisting of naturally associated minerals.” Unbeknownst to consumers, that allowed for the inclusion of arsenic, lead and hexavalent chromium.

“A growing body of scientific evidence links the use of talcum powder to ovarian cancer,” said Simmons Hanly Conroy Shareholder Mitchell Breit. “This evidence has been ignored by the industry and the defendants who have exposed consumers in California and throughout the nation to toxic and carcinogenic chemicals by failing to warn consumers of their presence in talcum powder products.”

The distributors and retailers named as defendants are Bausch Health Companies Inc.; Bausch Health U.S., LLC; CVS Health Corporation; CVS Pharmacy, Inc.; Dollar General Corporation; Dolgen, LLC; Dolgen California, LLC; Johnson & Johnson; Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc.; Sanofi, S.A.; Sanofi US Services, Inc.; Chattem, Inc.; Target Corporation; Target Brands, Inc.; Walgreen Co.; and Walmart Inc..  Suppliers named as defendants are Davion, Inc.; Garcoa, Inc.; Personal Care Products, LLC; Stone Arch Capital, LLC; Premier Brands of America Inc.; and Thornton Industries, Inc.