Johnson & Johnson Rejects The Motion To Stop Worldwide Talcum Powder Sales
A majority of shareholders voted to continue to sell Johnson's Baby Powder made from talc in overseas markets at yesterday's shareholder meeting
Friday, April 29, 2022 - Johnson & Johnson rejected the proposal to stop selling talc worldwide at yesterday's shareholder's meeting. The landmark decision to continue to sell asbestos-laced talcum powder in India and other third world underdeveloped countries was decided upon by large institutional investor proxy groups that included Institutional Shareholder Services, Tulipshare, Glass Lewis, Vanguard, and State Street, rather than racially charged issue it has become in the United States. According to the New York Times, "Johnson & Johnson had urged shareholders to vote against the shareholder resolution, saying of baby powder in its proxy statement that decades of science have reaffirmed its safety." Johnson & Johnson continues to deny the results of Dr. William Longo, an independent microscope testing scientist, and the tests conducted by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which have repeatedly found asbestos, a known carcinogen in bottles of Johnson's Baby Powder purchased from US retail outlets. Johnson & Johnson recalled 33,000 bottles of Johnsons Baby Powder made from talc in October 2019 after the FDA detected chrysotile asbestos citing a talcum powder cancer risk. Investors agreed that the problems stemming from selling Johnson's Baby Powder in India are more of a public relations issue than anything else. "Johnson & Johnson had urged shareholders to vote against the shareholder resolution, saying of baby powder in its proxy statement that "decades of science have reaffirmed its safety," The Times reported.
Johnson & johnson was presumed to be in hot water for racially targeting African American women and others with their advertising for talcum powder starting back in the early 1970s. An April 2019 investigative report in Reuters titled "Special Report: As Baby Powder concerns mounted, J&J focused marketing on minority, overweight women," blew the issue of race-related advertising wide open. The company was concerned that the recent acknowledgment that asbestos was "possibly carcinogenic" by the World Health Organization would cause informed consumers to not risk using the product to diaper their babies, the original intent of the product. Making amends for the racial wrongdoings the company has committed was presumed to start with discontinuing sales of Johnson's Baby Powder made from talc in India and other under-developed, less well-informed markets.
It has come to light that Johnson & Johnson has a history of targeting minorities. Immediately after Johnson & Johnson stopped selling Johnson's Baby Powder in North America, it redoubled its efforts to sell the asbestos-laced talcum powder in India and elsewhere. Unfortunately, nothing good is likely to happen as Johnson & Johnson continues to tell consumers that their talcum powder is safe, pure, and asbestos-free. More than 40,000 women with ovarian cancer or the estates of those who have died from the disease have filed talcum powder lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson. The lawsuits hope to replicate the success of 22 women who were awarded $2.1 billion collectively by a Missouri jury whose anger was inflamed by the company's "reprehensible behavior" in targeting women of color with a product they knew could cause cancer.