Occupational Medicine Study Links Cosmetic Talc to Malignant Mesothelioma

As mesothelioma lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and other cosmetic talc companies continue being filed, a study has just been published in the official journal of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine definitively linking asbestos found in these products to the illness.

Study Looks at Thirty-Three Cases of Mesothelioma With No Occupational Asbestos Exposure

The mesothelioma study, which was published in the January issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, was led by Jacqueline Moline, MD, of the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, Great Neck, N.Y. Dr. Moline and her colleagues from The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai examined the cases of 33 patients diagnosed with the asbestos-related form of cancer, all of whom had been referred to them for evaluation because they had no occupational exposure to asbestos. 

Mesothelioma is most commonly diagnosed in people who have been exposed to asbestos in the workplace, and when patients don’t have this type of exposure, their illness is referred to as spontaneous or idiopathic, meaning that the cause is unknown. But writing in the report, Dr. Moline says, “Our findings strongly suggest that asbestos exposure through asbestos-contaminated cosmetic talc explains cases once deemed idiopathic or ‘spontaneous’. 

Patients in Study All Had Long History of Talcum Powder Use

Though the mesothelioma patients whose illnesses were detailed in the study had no history of occupational asbestos exposure, they all had extensive histories of having used talcum powder products. The 26 women and 7 men submitted to extensive testing including having their lymph nodes and tumors biopsied by the group. In six of the patients, the tissue removed in those tested positive for the same kind of asbestos fibers that have previously been identified in talcum powder samples. “Our case study suggests that cosmetic talcum powder use may help explain the high prevalence of idiopathic mesothelioma cases, particularly among women,” the study concludes.

Though companies like Johnson & Johnson have denied that asbestos has contaminated the talc used in their cosmetic powder products, evidence of internal correspondence belies this defense, and the U. S. Food and Drug Administration identified asbestos in a bottle of the company’s baby powder product purchased in 2018. 

As researchers continue to investigate the link between mesothelioma and cosmetic talc products, those diagnosed with the disease continue to struggle. If you need resources or support, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our Mesothelioma.net 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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