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New Mexico Sues Johnson & Johnson for False Advertising and Misleading the Public of the Dangers of Talc

Attorney general of New Mexico, Hector Balderas, announced in a press release on January 6 that he has filed suit on behalf of the state of New Mexico against Johnson & Johnson and three other corporations for wrongful marketing, sale and promotion of asbestos-containing talcum powder products.

Johnson & Johnson, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc., Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Corporation; and Valeant Pharmaceuticals North America LLC. are the largest talc producers and/or talc-containing product manufacturers in the world. These corporations knowingly concealed from consumers and regulatory agencies the health risks associated with their talc products, and instead marketed the products as “safe” and “healthful."

“Misleading consumers endangers the health and safety of our families,” said Attorney General Balderas. “These products have been targeted at minority groups, especially Black and Hispanic women and children, with false messages about their safety, and I will hold these companies accountable.”

The company has implemented marketing strategies targeting African American and Hispanic women because internal studies showed these two ethnicities used Johnson’s Baby Powder at higher rates than women of other ethnicities. New Mexico is disproportionately affected because approximately 48% of New Mexico’s population is comprised of African American and Hispanic individuals.

New Mexico is one of the first states in the nation to file a lawsuit against the companies for manufacturing and selling talcum powder contaminated with asbestos.

Earlier this year multiple Democratic attorneys general from across the country filed suit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) for failure to initiate effective asbestos regulation. In October J&J issued a recall of 33,000 bottles of baby powder after testing conducted by the FDA came back positive for asbestos contamination.

A copy of the complaint can be found here.

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