For a number of years, women across the country have been claiming that talc found in Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Baby Powder has caused ovarian cancer. Nevertheless, manufacturers continually use talcum powder in a multitude of products – many of which carry traces of asbestos. Asbestos is a known carcinogen. It is the only known cause of mesothelioma and is often linked to the diagnosis of ovarian and other cancers.
What is Talc?
Talc is a naturally occurring mineral found in clay mined from the earth. It is the softest known mineral, making it useful in both consumer and industrial products. Asbestos, also a naturally occurring mineral, and is frequently found alongside talc in many of the same rock formations. Because veins of asbestos often run through talc deposits, the possibility of cross-contamination is common.
Talc in Consumer Goods
Independent lab testing found major accessories retailer Claire’s sold makeup containing tremolite asbestos. However, the U.S. government does not require cosmetics products and ingredients to go through a Federal Drug Administration (FDA) premarket approval process prior to the sale of cosmetics. This lack of rigorous regulation puts women and children at risk of exposure to toxins like asbestos. Claire’s ultimately recalled the contaminated makeup. Popular tween clothing store Justice also discovered contaminated makeup after an investigation and subsequently stopped the sale of the asbestos-containing products.
- Food and Pharmaceuticals
Talc is frequently used in foods even though the human body does not digest the mineral. It acts as a carrier for food coloring. In other food products, such as rice, chewing gum, seasonings, and some bakery goods, talc acts as a separating agent. Likewise, in pharmaceuticals, talc is used as an anticaking agent. The anticaking function helps with powder flow and tablet compression in the manufacturing of drugs.
- Children’s Toys
In 2018, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) Education Fund reported that Playskool crayons sold at Dollar Tree and other retailers tested positive for asbestos. Crayon manufacturers use talc as a binder in the wax. Three years prior, the Environmental Working Group Action Fund found four brands of crayons made in China contained asbestos fibers. While U.S. laws do regulate the amount of asbestos in drinking water and schools, there are no regulations on the amount of asbestos allowed in children’s products according to Kara Cook-Schultz, toxics director for U.S. PIRG.
Talc in Industrial Products
In addition to being found in consumer goods, talc is often used on machinery as a solid or dry lubricant. It smooths out metal to metal contact reducing wear and tear and can function to help prevent abrasion allowing for free moving action of mechanical parts.
- Ceramics and Tiles
Talc is also used in the production of a wide range of ceramic products. These products include ceramic tableware, roofing tiles, flooring tiles, and bathroom appliances, to name a few. Talc improves thermal shock resistance allowing ceramic products to withstand sudden changes in temperature.
Talc is also used in the production of plastics, paper, and rubber, as well as wastewater treatment.
Companies have a responsibility to the public to manufacture safe products with reasonable warning labels. If they fail to do this and people are injured, the manufacturers and distributors must be held accountable. Johnson & Johnson is one such company that must now answer for its asbestos-tainted talcum powder. Internal documents revealed in court discuss J&J’s longtime knowledge of cancer-causing asbestos in its Baby Powder.
How Can Waters Kraus & Paul Help?
Waters Kraus & Paul is a mid-sized plaintiffs’ firm with experience in asbestos and talc lawsuits. Our lawyers have a record of holding manufacturers responsible for failing to adequately protect consumers. If you suffer from ovarian cancer or mesothelioma, our talc asbestos lawyers will fight for the compensation you deserve. If you were exposed to talc or asbestos contact us. Send us an email or call our offices at 800.226-9880 to discuss your potential talc asbestos lawsuit.