Asbestos in Makeup Blamed for Women’s Mesothelioma

A new report published in The Guardian is detailing the stories of British women who blame big-name cosmetic companies for their malignant mesothelioma. Beyond the claims being filed against talcum powder products like those made by Johnson & Johnson, the women point to cosmetic talc used in bronzer, blusher, eye shadow, and other commonly used makeup products as the cause of their illnesses. They’re taking action in the U.S. court system.

powder cosmetics

Big Brands That Used Talc in Makeup Named in Mesothelioma Lawsuits

Among the companies named in the British women’s lawsuits are Estee Lauder Companies, Avon, and Clinique. One woman, Hannah Fletcher, was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma after years of exposure to her mother’s loose face powder, makeup, and talc that she played with as a child, as well as her later use of foundation and eye shadow herself. She took legal action in the United States and agreed to an undisclosed but substantial financial settlement with the companies. 

Jade Jenkins is another woman diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma who was profiled in The Guardian. She said, “When I was told I had one-to-two years to live, I was shocked and panicked. I wear makeup every day, and to find out that the thing I put on my face which I’ve been buying since I was 12 years old caused this was awful.”  

Study Points to Talc Industry’s Efforts to Evade Mesothelioma Claims

A study investigating talc’s role in mesothelioma notes that the cosmetic companies named in the lawsuits have worked for years to distinguish “cosmetic talc” from “industrial talc.” The authors call that a “marketing construct,” writing, “The talc mining and manufacturing companies have long been aware that historical and current tests for asbestos in talc reveal that talc is not and never was asbestos-free.”

Another British woman diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma and suing the cosmetic companies is 69-year-old Sylvia Jackson. Jackson says she filed the lawsuit because “A successful claim would allow me access to treatments which can cost tens of thousands (of pounds) and aren’t available on the NHS – that’s my main hope.”

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and need help identifying the source of their asbestos exposure, the Patient Advocates at can help. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608. 

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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