Dust Unsettled

In 2006, warning labels from suppliers classified talc as “possibly carcinogenic” when used as a genital antiperspirant/deodorant. Baby Powder hawker Johnson & Johnson knew this—and that talc contained small amounts of asbestos–but doubled down on marketing the product to minority and overweight women.

Reuters’s deep dive of J&J marketing materials reveals concerted efforts to focus on “under developed [sic] geographical areas with hot weather and higher AA population”—AA meaning African American.

Now, 13,000 plaintiffs are alleging that the powder caused their ovarian cancer or mesothelioma. J&J denies all claims that it marketed a potentially dangerous product to minorities.


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