Talc is the primary ingredient in baby powder. It is the softest mineral in the world. Talc is often used in consumer and industrial products. Baby powder or talcum powder is the most popular consumer talc product. Finely crushed talcum powder is valuable because it can absorb moisture and lubricate simultaneously. People have used baby powder for decades to dry and protect their skin.
Baby Powder and Cancer Risk
But in recent years, there have been worries about a possible link between baby powder and mesothelioma. The problem is that in some rare cases, baby powder has been found to be contaminated with small amounts of asbestos. Asbestos exposure can lead to mesothelioma, a terrible cancer of the lungs and/or abdomen that is nearly always fatal.
This controversy has enveloped Johnson & Johnson in thousands of lawsuits over its baby powder products. Some juries have sided with plaintiffs and found it likely that asbestos exposure in baby powder caused some people’s mesothelioma, resulting in millions of dollars in judgments.
For example, a recent baby powder lawsuit alleged that J&J Baby Powder caused their mesothelioma. The four plaintiffs were awarded $750 million, but the company will appeal. (USAtoday.com).
There are thousands of other lawsuits in process alleging that baby powder causes cancer. How is this possible? It has to do with how raw talc is mined and processed.
How Can Asbestos Get Into Baby Powder?
The major question about baby powder causing mesothelioma is whether or not asbestos got into the raw talc. After all, talc is a natural mineral. When it is mined, it may occur near natural asbestos deposits. The company mining the talc must ensure that all talc be free of asbestos through extensive processing. In fact, in 1973, the US government required that all talcum powder have no asbestos in it. But evidence from various reports and studies show this has not always been so: (mesothelioma.net)
- Investigators studied samples of a type of baby powder to find any asbestos traces. The talcum powder did contain small amounts of asbestos. It could be inhaled, so it led researchers to conclude it could cause mesothelioma in some users.
- The FDA also investigated asbestos contamination in talcum powder. FDA tested several cosmetic products that contained talc, as well as cosmetic talc in 2009 and 2010. While this study did not find any asbestos, FDA admitted it was a very limited sample size.
- Some critics allege that current testing methods that test talcum powder for asbestos are not sensitive enough. Some executives have admitted that the tests on talc are outdated and should be revised.
Baby Powder Could Cause Mesothelioma
It has long been a mystery how so many women could get mesothelioma. After all, mesothelioma is more common in men because of asbestos exposure in construction, heavy industry, military, and manufacturing occupations. With women not being exposed to asbestos very often on the job, many believe they are being exposed to asbestos in talcum powder.
This suspicion seemed more likely after a Reuters investigation released in 2018 determined that the company was aware that some of its raw talc and finished powders sometimes tested positive for minute quantities of asbestos. The investigation further found that managers, doctors, lawyers, and scientists were aware of the problem but did not disclose the issue to the public or regulators. (Reuters.com)
That investigation also showed J&J memos from 1976 that stated that J&J had found no asbestos in any samples of talc between December 1972 and October 1973. But it did not inform the FDA that three tests by different labs from 1972 to 1975 did find asbestos in its talc. In one case, the level was said to be ‘rather high.’
Baby Powder Mesothelioma Victims Have Won Lawsuits
The evidence on asbestos in talc continues to grow, and it means it is more likely that this can cause mesothelioma in people who use talcum powder regularly. In the meantime, men and women have won cases against talcum powder product companies:
- A woman in California sued Colgate-Palmolive in 2015 and said she had used their Cashmere Bouquet product for 15 years and she got mesothelioma. The company did not agree with the jury, but she was awarded $13 million. (com)
- In 2016, a California man won a talcum powder lawsuit with $18 million awarded. It was filed against Whittaker, Clark & Daniels, a company that supplies talc. The plaintiff said the firm’s talcum powder was used in the barbershop of his father where you spent much of his youth. The man was diagnosed with mesothelioma years later. (com)
Talcum Powder Has Been Linked to Ovarian Cancer, Too
Talcum powder is frequently used by women, and ovarian cancer is an area that has been studied extensively:
- Baby powder applied to the genitals could be connected to ovarian cancer.
- Talc particles can get into the ovaries, and cancer can result.
- Several clinical studies have studies this to determine if talcum powder can cause ovarian cancer.
- Some studies find that women who use baby powder had a higher risk of ovarian cancer.
- There has been enough evidence that some women have hopes of winning large settlements for their cancers. For example, J&J is being sued over claims that its baby powder causes ovarian cancer and mesothelioma in minority women. (com)
There is little question that there is growing evidence that there is a possible link between baby powder and mesothelioma. Enough evidence exists that talcum powder has sometimes in the past contained small quantities of asbestos that can cause cancer in humans. If you used baby powder and have mesothelioma, you may want to consult with an attorney.
Get Mesothelioma Legal Help Immediately
With over $30 billion available for victims through the Asbestos Trust Funds, you could be entitled to financial compensations without ever filing a lawsuit. Mesothelioma & Lung Cancer victims qualify immediately. Complete the form or call us toll-free (800) 352-0871