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Vermont to receive $3.1 million from multistate settlement in talc baby powder lawsuit

Vermont Attorney General Charity Clark stands at a podium and speaks to reporters about the recently announced settlement with Johnson & Johnson over its marketing of talc-based baby powder.
Liam Elder-Connors
Vermont Public
Vermont Attorney General Charity Clark spoke to reporters on Tuesday, June 11, about the recently announced settlement with Johnson & Johnson over its marketing of talc-based baby powder.

Vermont is set to receive $3.1 million as part of a multistate settlement with pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson that resolves allegations the company misled the public about the safety of its talcum-based baby powder. In total, Johnson & Johnson will pay $700 million to the 43 states that brought lawsuits.

The national coalition alleged the company continued to market its talc products as safe, despite knowing that the talc often contained asbestos, a carcinogen, said Vermont Attorney General Charity Clark.

“I will continue using the authority of my office to protect Vermonters," Clark said during a press conference on Tuesday. "And to make the marketplace fairer and safer for consumers and to hold accountable those companies that put profits before the health and safety of Vermonters.”

Johnson & Johnson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company did not admit to any wrongdoing in the settlement agreement.

Johnson & Johnson stopped distributing and selling these talc products in the United States after the multistate coalition began its investigation four years ago and recently stopped global sales of these products, according to the Vermont Attorney General’s office.

The settlement also requires the company not to resume manufacturing or marketing talc products.

The $3.1 million that Vermont will receive from the settlement will be distributed to the state over four years. The money will go into the state’s general fund, Clark said.

The settlement announced on Tuesday only settles consumer protection claims brought by the multistate coalition. There are numerous other lawsuits brought by individuals who claim the asbestos in Johnson & Johnson’s talc products caused mesothelioma and ovarian cancer.

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Liam is Vermont Public’s public safety reporter, focusing on law enforcement, courts and the prison system.
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