Johnson & Johnson (J & J) has lost some big lawsuits recently, with Courts having found that its talc products, most notably Baby Powder and Shower to Shower, can cause ovarian cancer in women.
Very disturbing evidence showed that Johnson & Johnson, through internal documents discovered in a recent lawsuit, demonstrated that J & J has long been aware of the connections between talcum powder and cancer. Furthermore, these documents showed that J & J actually targeted black women in marketing campaigns, and did not warn anyone of the known risks.
Regular use of powder has been associated with ovarian cancer regardless of where the women used it, researchers report. Users of genital powder had more than a 40 percent increased risk of cancer, while those who used only non-genital powder had an increased risk of more than 30 percent.
Historically, African-American women have reported the significantly higher use of so-called feminine hygiene products, including genital powder. A 2015 case-control study in Los Angeles found that 44 percent of African-American women reported using talcum powder, compared to 30 percent of white women and 29 percent of Hispanic women.
In the documents released, in the 1990s, J & J outlined a plan to hike slowing sales of its powder “by targeting” black and Hispanic women, according to a company memorandum unearthed in recent litigation.
In fact, the conclusion of a study conducted at George Washington University in 2015 is that African American women are twice as likely to use vaginal douches as their white counterparts.
Last year, the family of a black woman named Jacqueline Fox, who died from ovarian cancer after life-long use of talcum powder made by J & J for genital hygiene, was awarded $72 million by a jury. The jury found that J & J had intentionally hidden the known association between their products and cancer from consumers.
In the Fox Trial, the jury also found J & J guilty of conspiracy, after they were presented with internal company documents proving a targeted campaign to promote their talc products to African American women, in spite of potential cancer risks. It was alleged that women in the black community were believed by J & J to be less likely to know of the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer and that they would also be less likely to sue the company if they learned of this link.
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