South African consumers looking for safer personal care products
South African consumers are paying attention to American lawsuits and studies involving talcum powder products, according to the Huffington Post. The lawsuits against Johnson and Johnson finding the company’s talc-containing products such as Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower responsible for the development of women’s ovarian cancer have not gone unnoticed. The verdicts have contributed to an already growing trend of consumers paying more attention to what they are putting in and on their bodies.
The lawsuits have been drawing attention worldwide with verdicts totaling $724 million and juries in three states siding with plaintiffs. Out of the seven completed talc trials there has only been one defense win.
Before the suits against Johnson and Johnson, very few consumers were aware of the decades of research linking genital talc use to ovarian cancer. Many women use these products as a regular part of their feminine hygiene routine, having begun in their teenage years.
Jacqueline Fox was one of them. The first of the Missouri talc plaintiffs, she died at age 62 of ovarian cancer just months before her February 2016 trial began. In a deposition before her death she said of talc products, “I was raised up on it. They was to help you stay fresh and clean. … We ladies have to take care of ourselves.” It was “as normal as using toothpaste or deodorant,” Bloomberg reported.
Consumers are now questioning more, paying attention to research, forming their own opinions and choosing to protect their bodies. Huffington Post mentions a 2016 study by non-profit environmental organisation Environmental Working Group, which analyzed 1,177 beauty and personal care products marketed to Black women. They found that one in 12 of these products was ranked highly hazardous and less than a fourth scored low in potentially hazardous ingredients.
In contrast, 40 percent of products marketed to the general public were rated “low hazard.” The products with the highest potential hazard included hair relaxers, and hair colors and bleaching products. A few potential ill effects or “hazards” that have been linked to ingredients in products included in this study were cancer, hormone disruption, developmental and reproductive damage, and allergies.
In response to concerns about the safety of personal care products, Huffington Post reports that many consumers are turning to “natural” products, or products that are “chemical-free” and “formulated without parabens.” In fact, globally this is a trend that is on the rise, making this market segment one of the fastest growing of the personal care and beauty industry.
South African businesses are meeting this demand. Huffington Post lists several popular South African brands that offer natural products from skin and hair care products to essential oils to sanitary ware.