Consumer health care giant Johnson & Johnson announced earlier this month that it would pay $100 million to settle 1,000 lawsuits among nearly 20,000 from women who claim the company’s iconic baby powder was tainted with asbestos and other impurities and caused them to develop ovarian cancer. The announcement is long overdue for Black and Hispanic women, says Kori Hale, CEO of CultureBanx, a business news source for minorities.
In a Forbes op-ed, Hale points out that Johnson’s Baby Powder is a longtime staple in African-American households, thanks in large part to aggressive marketing by Johnson & Johnson throughout the black community. The company used tactics like giving away samples at beauty salons and churches. All the while, J&J knew that its talc could become contaminated with known carcinogens, according to documents uncovered by a Reuters investigation.
“They strategically distributed this product to a lesser sophisticated consumer in a geographical region that warranted high use of the product,” Hale writes. “With this subset of consumers, sometimes includes a lack of education and inherent trust in the perception larger companies carry.”
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