The many people who are glued to their TV screens when Mad Men is on won't have a hard time visualizing marketing as a field that doesn't always have the best intentions. Would Don Draper have a problem pitching a paint product if it might be dangerous to children? He and his team certainly didn't have a problem trying to profit from tobacco.
This scenario comes up due to a current out-of-state toxic tort related to the presence of lead in house paints. Attorneys for the various plaintiffs argue that paint companies knew that their products were dangerous because of lead's effect on people's health (children in particular) but continued to sell and market it.
Professionals have tied lead exposure to lower levels of intelligence and other health dangers. They also claim that all it takes is dust particles of the paint to impact people's well-being; a child doesn't have to actually eat paint chips in order to get sick.
The lawsuit against companies that once made lead paint seeks around $1 billion in damages. Dutch Boy is one of the companies being targeted for its role in contaminating buildings, land and people through dangerous levels of lead exposure.
Lawsuits like this have been tried and failed in the past. Proving that lead exposure is dangerous is not a problem. Proving that companies knew of but ignored the dangers is the problem, a problem that isn't as easy to prove as lead's harm to a child's development. We will post an update when there's a development in this case.
Source: The Huffington Post, "Lead Paint Makers Could Face The Same Fate As Big Tobacco," Lynne Peeples, Aug. 3, 2013