Asbestos Fibers in Talcum Powder Linked to Mesothelioma
In 1892, Johnson & Johnson’s director of scientific affairs, Dr. Frederick B. Kilmer invented scented talcum-based baby powder that was originally labeled “for toilet and nursery.”1
As its popularity increased, J&J’s Baby Powder became quickly associated with the smell of newborns themselves, as well as with “freshness and cleanliness.”1 As a result, many women used baby powder as a personal hygiene product as well.
Asbestos Remained in Talcum-Based Products for the Majority of the Twentieth Century
Before 1973, most talcum-based products contained asbestos fibers, which have been linked to mesothelioma and other diseases after inhaling or swallowing them.2
Because its mining process was unregulated, talcum became contaminated with asbestos fibers, as their deposits “are often found near each other in the earth.”3 In addition, processing plants were not required to test talcum for asbestos, like they are today.
Therefore, people who have used talcum-based products made before 1973 are at risk for developing asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma. Workers who helped manufacture products like baby powder or mined talcum before 1973 are also at risk.
Products made before 1973 that contained talcum with asbestos fibers include:
- Bauer & Black Baby Talc
- Cashmere Bouquet Body Talc
- Coty Airspun Face Powder
- Desert Flower Dusting Powder
- English Leather After Shave Talc
- Faberge Brut Talc
- Friendship Garden Talcum Powder
- Kings Men After Shave Talc
- Old Spice After Shave Talc
- Pinaud Clubman Talc Powder
- Rosemary Talc
- ZBT Baby Powder4
Mesothelioma Lawsuits Hold Talcum Companies Accountable
After being exposed to asbestos fibers in talcum, a victim’s mesothelioma symptoms can take 10-50 years to appear.3 Victims should pursue a claim as soon as they are diagnosed.
In recent years, several people who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma have pursued compensation from companies that used asbestos in talcum-based products before 1973. In 2016, a Los Angeles Superior Court jury awarded a verdict against talc supplier, Whittaker, Clark & Daniels.5 Similarly, in 2015, Colgate-Palmolive Co. settled with a victim after she claimed that “asbestos in the company’s Cashmere Bouquet product led to her mesothelioma.”5
Does Talcum Contain Asbestos Today?
In a 2012 study, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “tested dozens of talc-containing cosmetic products for traces of asbestos.”5 The report found “no asbestos fibers or structures in any of the samples; however, the results were limited because only four suppliers submitted samples.”6 Therefore, the FDA concluded that “the results do not definitively prove whether asbestos-containing talc is or is not being marketed and sold across retailers in the United States.”6
Today, products that contain talc include “pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, chalk, rubber, and ceramics.”5 There have been several cases of imported products from China containing asbestos in their talc. It’s best to do research before buying talc-containing products from other countries as well, because asbestos is not regulated in some countries like China.
Diagnosed with Mesothelioma? We Can Help
If you or someone you love have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, our attorneys at Shannon Law Group can help you get the compensation you deserve. Please fill out our contact form. You can call us at (312) 578-9501 or toll-free at (886) 881-9980. We will get back to you as soon as possible. A free no-obligation consultation is available as well.