Chemical Collections

Talc Litigation Collection


The Talc Litigation Collection includes documents obtained through investigations and lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson, which alleged that the company knew its talc products contained asbestos, a known toxin linked to ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. Lawsuits represented include Forrest v. Johnson & Johnson, Henry v. Johnson & Johnson, Ingham v. Johnson & Johnson, and Leavitt and McElroy v. Johnson & Johnson.

Dates: 1960-2018; bulk 1970-2000

The documents were collected and prepared for public access with support from the UCSF Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment and the UCSF Environmental Research and Translation for Health (EaRTH) Center.

The documents come from the following sources:

Reuters Investigative Report
56 documents cited in a December 14, 2018 Reuters investigative report by Lisa Girion, “Powder Keg: J&J knew for decades that asbestos lurked in its Baby Powder

Trial Exhibits: Forrest v. Johnson & Johnson
325 exhibits from the Missouri lawsuit Forrest v. Johnson & Johnson, (Case No. 4:17-CV-01855-JAR). The plaintiff alleged she developed ovarian cancer as a result of her use of J&J talc products for feminine hygiene purposes. In 2020, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Johnson & Johnson.

Trial Exhibits: Henry v. Johnson & Johnson
115 exhibits and trial transcripts from Rosalind Henry and Fredrick C Henry v. Brenntag North American, Johnson & Johnson, et al., (Case No. L-1748-17). This 2018 lawsuit alleged that asbestos present in Johnson & Johnson's cosmetic talc products caused plaintiff's mesothelioma. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Johnson & Johnson.

Trial Exhibits: Ingham v. Johnson & Johnson  
99 documents comprised of admitted exhibits in Ingham v. Johnson & Johnson, (Case No. 1522-CC10417), the first multi-plaintiff talcum powder case decided in the US. In 2018, attorneys successfully argued the plaintiffs' ovarian cancer was caused by potential contaminants of talc, such as asbestos, rather than the talc itself. The 22 plaintiffs were awarded $550 million in compensatory damages and $4.14 billion in punitive damages, which the jury arrived at by multiplying a single year of talcum powder sales by the roughly 40 years since the company reported their products did not contain asbestos. The verdict was appealed by Johnson & Johnson, but ultimately upheld.

Trial Exhibits and Court Documents: Leavitt and McElroy v. Johnson & Johnson
1,575 exhibits and supplemental court documents collected from the 2019 lawsuit Leavitt and McElroy v. Johnson & Johnson (Case No. RG17882401, Alameda Superior Court), alleging asbestos contamination in talc caused mesothelioma, a form of cancer linked to asbestos exposure. Damages were awarded in the amount of $29.4 billion.

Johnson and Johnson Website
1,382 exhibit documents made available by Johnson & Johnson on a website, “Facts About Talc,” created to discuss the lawsuits and address the allegations that Johnson’s Baby Powder can cause ovarian cancer or mesothelioma.