Talcum Powder & Asbestos

If you have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma or Lung Cancer you could be entitled to significant compensation from both the Asbestos Trust Funds and asbestos product manufactures.

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Talcum Powder & Asbestos

If you have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma or Lung Cancer you could be entitled to significant compensation from both the Asbestos Trust Funds and asbestos product manufactures.

Contact us now for a FREE consultation.

Free Case Review

Talcum Powder & Asbestos: Potential Risks,
Research & Lawsuits

Talc is an ingredient often used in cosmetic products ranging from blush to baby powder. Talc, a natural mineral, is frequently used in industrial and consumer products. The mineral is mined, and in the process, it becomes possible for asbestos to contaminate it. The two look similar, leading to asbestos exposure through contaminated talcum powder products. Asbestos has been shown to have links to the development of mesothelioma and other cancers.

What is Talc?

Talc is a natural mineral known for its versatility and various applications. It is made of magnesium, oxygen and silicon, mined from global deposits and then processed into a fine powder. Due to the properties of talc, including the fact that it’s soft and lubricating, it has many uses. It’s also got a smooth and silky texture and is absorbent, creating a matte finish. Uses include:

The marketing of talc products has been going on since the 1800s, but there have been substantial questions about their safety in recent decades. On its own, pure talc is considered safe. Unfortunately, it’s talc contaminated with asbestos that can harm health.

Talc and Asbestos

Talc and asbestos frequently occur near each other naturally in the earth, with asbestos being a known carcinogen. When raw talc is mined, it can contain asbestos fibers. Talc is often contaminated with amphibole asbestos, which includes five different types. These types of asbestos, according to research, may be more likely to lead to diseases.

Talc mining sites must be carefully selected to avoid the risk of asbestos contamination. Asbestos is known to cause cancers both in and around the lungs if it’s inhaled.

In 1976, the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrances Association (CTFA) issued voluntary guidelines that talc in cosmetic products in the U.S. should be free of any detectable amounts of asbestos. Even before this, in the 1960s, some studies started showing potential links between the use of talc powders and products and the increased risk of ovarian cancer.

Talc and Asbestos

Talc and asbestos frequently occur near each other naturally in the earth, with asbestos being a known carcinogen. When raw talc is mined, it can contain asbestos fibers. Talc is often contaminated with amphibole asbestos, which includes five different types. These types of asbestos, according to research, may be more likely to lead to diseases.

Talc mining sites must be carefully selected to avoid the risk of asbestos contamination. Asbestos is known to cause cancers both in and around the lungs if it’s inhaled.

In 1976, the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrances Association (CTFA) issued voluntary guidelines that talc in cosmetic products in the U.S. should be free of any detectable amounts of asbestos. Even before this, in the 1960s, some studies started showing potential links between the use of talc powders and products and the increased risk of ovarian cancer.

The Risks of Asbestos

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral of thin, durable, heat-resistant fibers. It was often used in manufacturing, automotive, shipbuilding, construction and other industries. Unfortunately, exposure to asbestos fibers can create significant health risks. Inhaling airborne asbestos fibers can lead to potentially deadly health conditions, including:

Lung cancer can result from prolonged asbestos exposure.

A Timeline of Asbestos Contamination in Talc Products

The issue of asbestos being found in talc products has been ongoing, with some of the key events including:

In the early to mid-20th century, asbestos was commonly used across many industries and consumer products. Talc was frequently mined along asbestos deposits, leading to unintentional talc contamination with asbestos fibers.

In the 1960s and 1970s, scientific studies started to link asbestos exposure to serious health issues, including cancer and lung diseases. Regulatory bodies like OSHA and the EPA started to take notice, establishing guidelines that limited asbestos exposure in the workplace.

Later in the 20th century, concerns arose about asbestos in talc products, especially talcum powder, frequently used for hygiene and personal care products.

The 1980s and '90s saw legal action being taken against talc manufacturers, with an allegation that talc products contaminated with asbestos were leading to health issues, including respiratory diseases and ovarian cancers. Some talc manufacturers began initiating quality control and testing measures to detect and eliminate asbestos from products.

From the 2000s to 2010s, there were various lawsuits related to talc products, with companies facing litigation over alleged asbestos contamination. The FDA and other regulatory agencies started to monitor and test products intensely with talc to ensure they weren’t contaminated with asbestos.

In recent years, there have been ongoing battles between manufacturers of talc and individuals claiming they were harmed because of asbestos exposure. Regulatory scrutiny has led to companies implementing more stringent quality control measures and conducting testing to make sure their talc products are free from asbestos.

While there’s more awareness about the potential presence of asbestos in talc products, there’s still no required testing from the FDA. The talc industry has undertaken changes voluntarily, and talc products continue testing positive for asbestos.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) did independent testing of talc cosmetics in 2020, finding that 15% of tested cosmetics contained asbestos fibers. This puts consumers and the employees who manufacture these products at risk.

Talc Powder and Ovarian Cancer

While asbestos exposure in other settings is usually linked with respiratory illnesses and mesothelioma, with asbestos-containing talc, the risk of ovarian cancer is another cause for concern. It’s thought that talc products with asbestos, frequently used on the genital area, could travel through the reproductive tract, reaching the ovaries. This could then lead to inflammation and the development of cancerous cells.


Some epidemiological studies show a possible association between long-term talcum use in the genital area and a higher risk of ovarian cancer.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) does classify talc contaminated with asbestos as a carcinogen.

Talc Powder and Endometrial Cancer

In a study in 2010, there was an initial suggestion perineal talcum powder could be associated with more of a risk of endometrial cancer, particularly in postmenopausal women. Another study in 2019 found an association between the use of talc and endometrial cancer.

This study was retrospective, meaning it looked back at the habits of women already diagnosed with endometrial cancer. Another study a few years later found no increased endometrial risk associated with upper or lower-body talcum powder exposure.

Talc Powder and Lung Cancer

A meta-analysis that reviewed 14 separate observational studies recently found links between lung cancer and talc inhalation, regardless of whether the talc contained asbestos fibers. Researchers believe this could be because talc, when inhaled, is inflammatory regardless of its asbestos content.

Talc Powder and Lung Cancer

A meta-analysis that reviewed 14 separate observational studies recently found links between lung cancer and talc inhalation, regardless of whether the talc contained asbestos fibers. Researchers believe this could be because talc, when inhaled, is inflammatory regardless of its asbestos content.

Talc Powder and Mesothelioma

Asbestos is a known carcinogen, and when talc is contaminated with it, it may cause malignant mesothelioma. Asbestos is currently the primary known cause of mesothelioma, a rare, aggressive cancer. The latency period for asbestos exposure and subsequent development of mesothelioma can be long, ranging from 20 to 60 years.

Industrial talc has been found to contain some of the highest levels of asbestos, while cosmetic talc testing reveals contamination levels ranging from 0-30% asbestos. In January 2023, researchers outlined 166 mesothelioma cases in people with substantial talc product exposure. In 122 cases, cosmetic talc was the only known source of asbestos exposure.

Asbestos-Containing Talc Products

Some of the many products that have been found to contain asbestos include:

Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder

Johnson & Johnson has been manufacturing talc products for decades, but in May 2020, it announced it would end sales of baby powders with talc in North America. For years, the company has faced lawsuits over product safety, with plaintiffs claiming trace asbestos amounts in the powder as the cause of their cancer. Some say the decision to stop selling the product in North America is an admission of guilt, but J&J says it’s due to a decline in sales of talc-based baby powder. The cornstarch baby powders from the company are still on the market.

In August 2022, J&J announced it would switch to only selling cornstarch baby powder globally.

Who Could Be At Risk of Asbestos Exposure?

Consumers who use talcum powder and other cosmetics could be at risk of exposure to asbestos, with no amount being safe. There may be secondary exposure that becomes a risk as well. For example, if you live in a home with someone who regularly uses talc-contaminated asbestos, you could be at risk of inhaling or ingesting the fibers.

Miners can be exposed, as can manufacturing workers when they’re producing these products. Other examples of people who may have had substantial exposure to talc-containing asbestos are:

Asbestos Lawsuits and Settlements

If you’re diagnosed with certain types of cancer, including mesothelioma or ovarian cancer, you may be eligible for asbestos compensation. Sometimes, family members may also be able to file a claim.

In 2020, J&J reached a $100 million settlement resolving more than 1,000 claims of asbestos-contaminated baby powder-causing cancers, including mesothelioma. In 2015, an award of $13 million was handed to a mesothelioma patient in a California court. She’d filed a lawsuit against Colgate-Palmolive, stating that she developed mesothelioma from regularly using Cashmere Bouquet.

Whittaker, Clark & Daniels paid out verdicts of $7 million and $18 million in 2015 and 2016 as talc distributors.

In 2022, a jury in California ordered Avon to pay a patient with mesothelioma more than $50 million with the lawsuit claiming the victim experienced exposure to asbestos through the use of talc-based cosmetic products she’d used for decades. According to the jury’s findings, Avon knew about the risks but didn’t warn customers.

Courts continue to hear cases, and there’s a call for stricter talc regulations for product consumers and workers.

If you believe you’ve been exposed to asbestos and become ill as a result, through cosmetics or in other ways, please contact our experienced legal team today to learn more about the options for compensation available to you.

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