Talcum Powder Potentially Linked to Cancers
January 12, 2015
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Talcum Powder and Mesothelioma: Is there a connection?

Mesothelioma is a rare type of lung cancer most commonly thought of as being associated with exposure to asbestos. The typical mesothelioma patient has a background either working in jobs where they inhaled or ingested asbestos fibers (such as in shipyards), or living with someone who did.

However, a recent study has also indicated a possible link between mesothelioma and certain brands of talcum powder.


The Gordon Study

The study, authored by Ronald E. Gordon, et al., examined a woman who passed away from mesothelioma despite no obvious exposure to asbestos. Upon examination of her talcum powder, samples revealed that the particular brand of talc powder she used contained inhalable asbestos fibers. The Gordon study concluded that through many applications of that specific brand of talcum powder, the deceased inhaled asbestos fibers, which then accumulated in her lungs and likely caused or contributed to her mesothelioma.

This study, as stated by the authors, “is the first report that explores the hypothesis that a specific brand of talcum powder coming from asbestos-contaminated mines can find its way into the finished product that can be inhaled during use and cause or contribute to mesothelioma.”

The Gordon study does not disclose what brand of talcum powder they found to contain asbestos fibers. However, the talcum powder product at issue in the study had been found to contain asbestos fibers in the past as well. In 1976, another study tested 20 consumer products labeled as talc or talcum powder, which included baby powders and cosmetics. The 1976 study found that 10 of the products contained asbestiform particles. The 1976 study also showed the product with the highest asbestos content was the same product that was tested in the recent Gordon study.

According to the Gordon study, the talcum powder used by this company came from mines that contained asbestos fibers. Talc can be contaminated by asbestos as a result of the mining process. However, manufacturers can source talcum from mines that do not contain asbestos.

Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer

The Gordon study also highlights there may be risks associated with talcum powder other than mesothelioma. Since the 1970s, several studies have linked the use of talcum powder products in the perineal area to the increased risk of developing ovarian cancer in women. The International Agency for Cancer Research has labeled talc-based products as a “possibly carcinogenic” when used in the genital area.

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Ashcraft & Gerel is a leader in mesothelioma -related litigation and is currently investigating cases involving women who have used talcum powder in the genital area and subsequently developed ovarian cancer. If you or someone you know is dealing with the impact of mesothelioma or ovarian cancer which may have been connected to the use of talcum powder, Ashcraft & Gerel is here to help. Please contact us online or by calling (866) 709-0505.