Malignant mesothelioma is traditionally associated with occupational exposures to asbestos in jobs involving high-heat environments. As asbestos use has diminished in those settings, there had been hope that the incidence of the rare asbestos-related disease would also fall. But recent findings point to concerning new trends regarding the use of talc, a mineral frequently found in close proximity to asbestos deposits. Research shows that talc in cosmetic products poses a previously unrecognized risk and may require greater regulation on the part of federal authorities.
Research Reveals Talc in Cosmetics
Talc has long been a staple ingredient in personal hygiene and cosmetic products, but concerns over malignant mesothelioma, ovarian cancer and other asbestos-related diseases have called that practice into question. Thousands of lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson and other companies that use talc in their powder.
Following these concerns and increasing diagnoses of mesothelioma and other cancers in women, scientists from the Environmental Working Group have published a study showing that three out of 21 powder-based cosmetic products that they tested – including one specifically marketed towards children — were contaminated with asbestos.
Talc’s Role in Malignant Mesothelioma
Talc has come under increasing scrutiny as a cause of malignant mesothelioma. Though the mineral itself may be innocuous, it is frequently contaminated with amphibole asbestos, which is a known carcinogen for which no level of exposure is considered safe. Despite this, talc is frequently a component of cosmetics, and particularly of powder-based products whose particles become airborne and are easily inhaled. Though some companies voluntarily test their products for asbestos, cosmetic talc is not subject to mandatory testing, nor are uniform procedures followed to ensure consumer safety.
The sampling of talc-based products in the recent study found that 14% tested positive for asbestos. This statistic, in combination with research indicating that at least 60% of women diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma had no occupational exposure to asbestos, suggests a real need for better regulation and testing of these commonly used products.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net are able to help. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608 to learn more.