• Talcum Powder and Asbestos
  • February 5, 2018
  • Talc is a mineral often used in consumer products in its powder form—talcum powder—to absorb moisture and improve the tangibility of products. Unfortunately, it can also pose health hazards to consumers. In the past, asbestos was one of the ingredients used in commercially available talcum powder.

    Exposure to powdered asbestos is linked to mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer, and other conditions such as asbestosis. Manufacturers stopped using asbestos in talcum powder in the 1970s, but individuals who used talcum powder before then continued to experience the health consequences of this exposure in the following decades as mesothelioma has a latency period of 20 to 50 years.

    In the years since talcum powder manufacturers removed asbestos from their product, there have been isolated cases of trace amounts of asbestos being found in talcum powder in the United States and abroad.

    Health Risks
    Asbestos exposure and its related health issues are not the only potential health risks that come with using talcum powder. Studies conducted by The National Institutes of Health found that prolonged ingestion of talcum powder, particularly in infants, can cause the following:

    Coughing
    Lung failure
    Convulsions
    Blisters
    Coma fever
    Diarrhea
    Vomiting
    Throat irritation
    Talcum powder was commonly used in infants’ diapers to prevent diaper rash and act as a deodorant. It could also be found in numerous cosmetic products like blush and face powder. Today, there is still the possibility of contact with asbestos fibers through talc products as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate which ingredients may be used in cosmetics aside from color additives.

    An FDA study of cosmetics conducted between 2009 and 2010 found no asbestos in the talc products supplied, but also noted that only four companies that currently produce talc products submitted samples to be tested.

    Injury Claims
    When an individual suffers an injury or worsened health condition through exposure to a toxic substance, the party whose negligence put the victim in a position to be harmed by the substance may be deemed to be negligent and thus liable for the victim’s damages.