New Study Links Talcum Powder Asbestos to Rare Cancer

An October 2019 study linked talcum powder to mesothelioma, an incurable and deadly cancer. Every subject in the study developed mesothelioma after using talcum powder that may have contained asbestos, according to the researchers. Additional lawsuits and research studies have also linked talcum powder to other diseases, such as ovarian cancer.

Talcum Powder Asbestos Only Link to Rare Cancer in New Study

A new study published in October 2019 by the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine highlights the risk of talcum powder, which may contain trace amounts of cancer-causing asbestos.

The study looked at 33 people with mesothelioma, a fatal cancer caused only by asbestos exposure. The link in all cases was the regular use of talcum powder.

Mesothelioma is not the only cancer linked to talcum powder. Over the last several years, lawsuits and clinical studies claim that talcum powder may cause ovarian cancer and other diseases.

Lawsuits also claim that companies like Johnson & Johnson knew that talcum powder was dangerous but hid the truth so they could continue making money. And as more studies link talcum powder and asbestos to other diseases, additional lawsuits may be on the horizon.

What Did the Talcum Powder Asbestos Study Find?

The study drew several conclusions about talcum powder, asbestos, and cancer.

First, the researchers concluded that every person in the study had been exposed to asbestos — and developed mesothelioma — from using talcum powder.

Talc, the main ingredient in talcum powder, and asbestos are often found alongside one another in natural deposits. During the mining process, trace amounts of asbestos may pollute talc supplies.

If asbestos enters the body, it cannot be removed and may eventually cause cancer. This finding is very important because asbestos was used in thousands of different products from the 1930s until the early 1980s when the dangers were widely known.

Asbestos was used to make:

  • Construction materials
  • Vehicle, ship, and plane parts
  • Makeup products
  • Insulation

By ruling out other possible causes of exposure, the researchers suggested that talcum powder was the only unifying link in all cases.

From this, the researchers determined that asbestos-contaminated talcum powder can cause mesothelioma, and they encouraged doctors to ask patients with the disease about their use of talcum powder.

Talcum Powder Asbestos Studies and Legal Impacts

As more studies like this one continue to link talcum powder asbestos contamination to cancer, it could directly affect the outcome of lawsuits against major talc companies like Johnson & Johnson.

Over the past five years, a growing number of women have filed lawsuits claiming that talcum powder caused them to develop ovarian cancer. These lawsuits rely on firsthand accounts from victims, along with scientific information, to make a case.

“In general, courts have been somewhat skeptical of case studies as proof of causation,” Rutgers Law School professor Steve Gold said in an interview with Time Magazine.

He went on to say that the 2019 study “ought to be [seen as] basically a brick in a wall. It’s nowhere near a wall—but it’s a brick.”

And these bricks, slowly but surely, are building walls around Johnson & Johnson.

While the company has won several ovarian cancer lawsuits — or appealed unfavorable decisions — it has also suffered major losses, in part thanks to new research studies.

In July 2018, a jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a $4.7 Billion dollar verdict to 22 women who claimed they developed ovarian cancer from using the company’s baby powder.

As of December 2019, Johnson & Johnson faces over 15,000 lawsuits related to talcum powder cancer, according to the investigative journalism outlet Reuters.

Johnson & Johnson Recalls Talcum Powder Over Asbestos Risks

Outside of major legal losses, Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder continues to draw controversy due to government investigations.

Eight days after the talcum powder asbestos study was released, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that they found asbestos in Johnson’s baby powder. In response, the pharmaceutical giant recalled over 30,000 bottles of talcum powder.

However, Johnson & Johnson continues to deny that its talcum powder has asbestos contamination. In early December 2019, the company announced that its own tests found no asbestos in the recalled talcum powder shipment.

Yet, tests going back to the 1950s — including tests conducted by Johnson & Johnson — have found small amounts of asbestos in talcum powder. But, according to Reuters, Johnson & Johnson hid these findings.

Keep Yourself Safe From Talcum Powder Asbestos and Cancer

As scientific evidence and government tests continue to link talcum powder asbestos to cancer, consumers must understand the potential risks and how they can protect themselves.

Consumers who currently use talcum powder should switch to a safer alternative, such as cornstarch-based baby powder. Johnson & Johnson only recalled one shipment of its talcum powder, so it is still available today online and in some retail stores.

Further, if you develop any possible symptoms of ovarian cancer, consult with a doctor immediately. Early diagnosis and treatment of talcum powder cancer may help improve your prognosis and quality of life.

Author:Talcum Powder Cancer Guide Editorial Team
Talcum Powder Cancer Guide Editorial Team

Talcum Powder Cancer Guide helps people understand the risks of talcum powder, what was thought to be a harmless product. The site was inspired by a group of medical experts and lawyers who were concerned about the dangers of talcum powder after lawsuits linked it to cancer. Talcum Powder Cancer Guide’s editorial team uses up-to-date studies and reports to help readers make informed health and legal choices.

Last modified: August 12, 2020