Which talcum powder products contain asbestos?
Growing public knowledge of the danger of talcum powder is linked to public knowledge of the potential harm of asbestos.
For decades, people have worked near or with asbestos and put their bodies at risk of later developing deadly cancer. Mesothelioma and talcum powder, for example, are linked because asbestos is the only known cause of this rare cancer.
Talcum powder alone is not necessarily dangerous. The powdered ingredient helps keep the skin dry and improves the quality of skin care.
However, talcum powder comes from the mineral talc. It exists in the same geographical areas as asbestos, which is another mineral. This means that the two minerals are close to each other in the earth’s soil. When accidentally mixed together during mining, loose asbestos fibers can be captured during the process of turning talc into talc powder.
Do all talc products contain asbestos?
Any product containing talc may contain asbestos. Not all do, but there’s no way to tell which ones do and which don’t. Therefore, it is not safe to use products that contain talc as an ingredient.
Any product that contains talc as an ingredient may contain asbestos. The Mesothelioma Guide has identified three popular brands or types of health and beauty products that can be dangerous to use. Each of them has been blamed for cancer at least once.
Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder
Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder has for decades been arguably the most popular type of talcum powder on the American market. For this reason, the popular Johnson & Johnson brand has been the source of thousands of cancer cases.
Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder has been linked to at least three cancers caused by asbestos:
- Lung cancer
- Ovarian cancer
Lung cancer and ovarian cancer can occur for reasons other than asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma and baby powder are linked due to asbestos. Mesothelioma is only caused by asbestos fibers which irritate body tissues. Talc and lung cancer are linked, but smoking cigarettes is the most likely cause of lung cancer.
Johnson & Johnson recalled some of its Baby Powder talc a few years ago and decided in 2020 to stop selling the talc version of the product in the US and Canadian markets. The company cited ongoing legal issues – around 30,000 cancer lawsuits – with the trademark.
Cosmetics and Makeup
Many cosmetic products, such as makeup, contain talcum powder. Eye shadow, blush, lipstick, mascara, foundation, and other types of beauty products use talc because the mineral gives them a silky texture. This texture facilitates the application of cosmetics.
Talc in makeup has led to many cancer cases and cancer lawsuits, especially among women.
Many eyeshadow and blusher brands are turning to talc-free makeup. Alternatives to talcum powder include cornstarch. This effort is due to the possibility of cancer.
The US Food and Drug Administration conducted a test in 2020 on cosmetic products. About 23% of the samples contained detectable traces of asbestos. Since asbestos fibers are undetectable to the naked eye and require a microscope, it is possible that still other samples contain asbestos that has not been detected.
The environmental working group carried out a test of cosmetic products and found asbestos in 15% of brands. There was asbestos in two eye shadow palettes and a children’s makeup kit.
Items after the Chanel shower
Some of Chanel‘s after-bath products contain asbestos. Chanel is charged in cancer lawsuits related to the use of talcum powder.
These after-bath items include body powders, similar to Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder. Chanel announced in 2020 that it was moving away from using talcum powder as an ingredient in several of its brands.
Other brands that reportedly use talcum powders and potentially dangerous asbestos include:
- Claire’s (cosmetics)
- Diploma (deodorant)
- Centrum (multivitamin)
Talcum powder is also an ingredient in some brands of chewing gum, food processing, pencils, toothpaste, and shaving items.
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