New Mexico Sues Johnson and Johnson For Targeting Minorities With Contaminated Baby Powder
African American and Hispanic women were targeted in magazine, print, and television advertising when the company realized the public may become aware that asbestos is carcinogenic
Thursday, January 9, 2020 - Asbestos is dug from the ground in open-pit mines where tons of earth are blasted with explosives to pulverize the mineral into a fine, dust-like cloud that is easier to scoop up and remove. This cloud of asbestos dust settles like volcanic ash on everything in its path. As a result of this mining method, entire neighborhoods surrounding asbestos mines have reported high occurrences of mesothelioma and other cancers amongst those living within a few miles of asbestos mines in every direction. Talc is also mined close to these mines and it is absurd to think that they too were not contaminated with asbestos. Johnson & Johnson has repeatedly gone on record as saying that their baby powder talc is pure and safe enough to use on your baby. Once talc is contaminated with asbestos, however, it is impossible to remove.
Back in the 1950s, it first became apparent that asbestos was a carcinogen when asbestos minors started to die from mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lungs. Johnson & Johnson was aware that their talc supply contained asbestos and was concerned for its brand as the public learned of the deadly asbestos situation. Rather than warn consumers that their talc contained asbestos or withdraw the product from the market and replace it with a safer, cornstarch-based powder, the company decided to redirect their marketing of Johnson's Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products to target African American women, a demographic the company thought to be less well informed and less likely to know of the deadly nature of asbestos. Because of this deliberate deception, the State of New Mexico has filed a suit against Johnson & Johnson alleging "the company (Johnson & Johnson) targeted minority women and children despite being aware of the risk of asbestos in talc," according to the New York Times. This is the first lawsuit to claim that the company racially directed its advertising and shows executives were aware of talc's asbestos contamination. Talcum powder cancer attorneys represent families and individuals harmed from Johnson's and Johnson's talcum powder and offer a free consultation before filing a claim.
Attorneys will argue internal company memos show executives were concerned over the public's new awareness of asbestos being carcinogenic as well as being concerned if consumers found out that talc was contaminated with asbestos during mining operations. In the lawsuit, according to the Times, New Mexico attorney general Hector Balderas accused Johnson & Johnson of "misleading consumers, especially children, and black and Hispanic women, about the safety of its talc products. The company concealed and failed to warn consumers about the dangers associated with their talc products which are thought to include lung disease, ovarian cancer, and mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of internal organs that is associated with asbestos."
There are over 12,000 lawsuits in the queue that are eagerly awaiting the findings of a Federal judge over the admissibility of expert witnesses testimony for both sides. Plaintiff witnesses have testified that they have found asbestos in talc using a very sensitive method of testing that Johnson & Johnson and the cosmetics industry experts feel produces false-positive readings. The cosmetics industry and Johnson & Johnson have used a method far less sensitive and report never finding a speck of asbestos in their talc.