Exposure to talcum powder can cause mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive malignant tumor that affects the protective membrane that covers most of the body’s internal organs, including the pleura, peritoneum, peritoneum and pericardium. The team of Jacqueline Moline, Professor of Occupational Medicine, Epidemiology and Prevention at the Feinstein Institute of Medical Research, is sure of this after studying the records of 33 patients.
Talcum powder: Caution it can contain asbestos
The majority of cancer patients were women whose only significant exposure to asbestos – the main risk factor for malignant mesothelioma – was the daily use of cosmetic talcum powder.
The researchers have explained the cases of six persons in detail. The tissue tests they were subjected to reveal the presence of fibers that are compatible with the type of asbestos found in cosmetic talcum powder and not with that found in building materials and insulation.
The powder which is found in many bathroom cabinets has been mentioned for years because of its connection with asbestos. In fact, it may be natural, because the two geological elements sometimes form side by side. Indeed, when, in some mines, talc is extracted asbestos fibers may also be present.
Professor Jacqueline Moline explained to the time: “This is the first time someone has said: let me look at all these cases, make things right and determine where talcum powder is the only exposure”. She adds: “People don’t even know that cosmetic talcum powder may contain asbestos. And yet, “Everything indicates that talcum powder is the cause,” she says.
This study supports several victims in lawsuits against talcum powder manufacturers.
The American company Johnson & Johnson has been the target of several lawsuits in recent years by customers who had cancer after using their talcum powder. Last March, the company was ordered to pay $29 million to a woman who claimed that the powder had contributed to her mesothelioma. In 2017, a jury asked the company to pay $4 billion to several women with ovarian cancer, who she said, was caused by their products.
Johnson & Johnson appealed against this verdict. However, the research published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine on October 10 may be a liability in these cases.
But for Jacqueline Moline, regardless of the court’s ruling, she hopes that her work will raise awareness among those who have used talcum powder for cosmetic purposes and those who still do so today.
She said, “You want to be careful with everything you use on your body or on your body. The scientist adds: “I would tell people that there is no regulation for talcum powder and that if there is a safer alternative, I would advise them to do so. I don’t recommend that people use talcum powder.
The Cosmetics Observatory has also been working on the issue of cosmetic talcum powder. According to them the warnings and potential risks relate only to free-form talcum powder and so far do not apply to Compact make-up powders, eye shadows, foundation creams or deodorants, where talc remains trapped.