Organizing A Coalition to Protect Black & Brown Communities: Black Women for Wellness
In a major victory for environmental health and reproductive justice, Johnson and Johnson (J&J) announced in 2022 that they would stop global sales of their talc-based baby powder and switch to a cornstarch-based formula by 2023. This victory was made possible by many years of organizing, consumer advocacy, and pressure campaigns led by Catalyst grantee Black Women for Wellness.
Internal documents showed that J&J knew about the links between talc and ovarian cancer but chose to continue to sell the product, even though there was a safer alternative—cornstarch. Despite knowing about its devastating effects, Johnson and Johnson continued to market the product to low-income Black and Brown communities in the US and Global South.
Black Women for Wellness organized a coalition of over 300 grassroots organizations and stakeholders, including Catalyst grantee Women’s Voices for the Earth, to pressure the company. The coalition that fought for this win is rooted in racial justice and made explicit connections between the hypocrisy of companies like J&J and others who released statements in support of Black Lives Matter after the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor yet continued to target people of color in their marketing and sale of dangerous products.