Johnson & Johnson Faces Lawsuit For Attacking Black Women With Baby Power Said To Be Carcinogenic



A container of Johnson’s baby powder.

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

  • The National Council of Black Women is suing Johnson & Johnson over its baby powder.
  • The lawsuit says the company “misleadingly” marketed the powder to black women.
  • There have been 25,000 lawsuits in the US for the company’s baby powder.
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Johnson & Johnson is facing another lawsuit for its baby powder.

The National Council of Black Women filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the company, alleging that it “deceptively marketed” the product for black women, even though it was aware of its links to ovarian cancer, the group said.

The lawsuit claims that Johnson & Johnson baby powder was aggressively marketed to black women as a product that would “maintain freshness and cleanliness.” But, the group says, internal documents from a 1968 study suggest that the powder contained talc that may have been contaminated with asbestos and that the company knew that there was a “carcinogenic nature of talc and the effects of using talc.”

“This lawsuit is about the lives of our grandmothers, our mothers, our wives, sisters and daughters, all of whom were cynically attacked by Johnson & Johnson,” attorney Ben Crump said in a press release. “Meanwhile, company executives were aware of the ovarian cancer risk from talc.”

Baby powder has been a staple in the bath routines of many black families for decades. The The New York Times first reported the demand.

In a statement, Johnson & Johnson rejected claims that its products are unsafe and said it has never consistently targeted a community with malicious intent.

“We identify with anyone who has cancer and we understand that people are looking for answers. We believe that those answers can be better understood through science, and decades of independent scientific testing by medical experts around the world has confirmed that our products are safe, do not contain asbestos and do not cause cancer. “

The company added: “The allegations made against our company are false, and the idea that our company would target a malicious community on purpose and in a systematic way is unreasonable and absurd, Johnson’s Baby Powder is safe and our campaigns are multicultural and inclusive. We strongly support the safety of our product and the ways we communicate with our customers. “

The NCNW hopes to compel Johnson & Johnson to take corrective action “to inform black women and all other consumers about the risks associated with the use of the products and their connection to ovarian cancers.”

In January 2021, 25,000 civil lawsuits in the US had filed against Johnson & Johnson in connection with its baby powder. Earlier this year, Johnson & Johnson announced that it was setting aside nearly $ 4 billion (about R59 billion) for litigation expenses in response to these cases.

“This company, through their words and images, told Black women that we were offensive in our natural state and that we needed to use their products to keep us cool,” NCNW CEO Janice Mathis said in a statement from press. “Generations of black women believed them and made it our daily practice to use their products in ways that put us at risk for cancer, and we taught our daughters to do the same. Shame on Johnson and Johnson.”

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