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Does Baby Powder Have Asbestos in It?

Legally Reviewed by Joseph P. Williams on January 15, 2020

Asbestos is an extremely dangerous substance that can cause a terminal type of cancer, mesothelioma, as well as many other incurable health conditions. Although the U.S. government banned the use of asbestos in the 1970s, some modern consumer products still contain traces of the substance through accidental contamination.

One of these products is talcum powder. Asbestos and talc often share mines in close proximity. Mining for talc for use in common products such as baby powder, therefore, may lead to cross-contamination with asbestos. Baby powder products containing asbestos have been at the center of dozens of lawsuits by women with ovarian cancer in recent years.

The Risks of Asbestos

Exposure to any amount of asbestos could lead to life-threatening health conditions, including multiple cancers. It is a known carcinogen. Breathing in even microscopic asbestos particles could lodge them in the linings of the lungs, heart and other organs. Asbestos particles can remain stuck in these tissues for decades, slowly causing irritation and related health problems, such as malignant tumors. By the time the victim notices the presence of asbestos in his or her lungs or other parts of the body, it is too late. The asbestos has already done enough damage to be incurable, in most cases.

The deadliest illness associated with asbestos exposure is mesothelioma, a terminal cancer of the inner lining of the lungs. Malignant mesothelioma has no cure and a life expectancy of about 12 months after the date of diagnosis. Other serious illnesses connected to asbestos include asbestosis and ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer could arise from using asbestos-contaminated baby powder between the legs as a personal hygiene product. Using any product that contains asbestos, including cosmetics and baby powder, could expose a consumer to the risk of serious illnesses and health conditions.

Traces of Asbestos Found in Johnson’s Baby Powder

Talc is a naturally occurring mineral that is safe for humans. It contains silicon, oxygen, hydrogen and magnesium. Talc is found in dozens of consumer goods – namely cosmetic and hygiene products. For decades, companies have used talc as a staple ingredient in powders, deodorants and makeups, as well as many food products. While talc alone is not dangerous to humans, talc contaminated with asbestos could be deadly.

In October 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a recall of Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder products after they tested positive for traces of asbestos. The recalled product in question was Johnson’s Baby Powder Lot #22318RB. The FDA advised consumers to stop using and purchasing this specific lot after a sample of it tested positive for asbestos. Unfortunately, thousands of consumers may have already been exposed to asbestos through the use of this baby powder.

Lawsuits for Ovarian Cancer Linked to Baby Powder

The FDA is currently researching a possible connection between talcum powder and ovarian cancer after receiving many questions and concerns about this issue. The FDA will host a public meeting on February 4th, 2020 on new methods of testing whether a talcum powder product contains asbestos. In the meantime, over 15,000 plaintiffs have already launched claims against Johnson & Johnson for allegedly causing their cancers. Most of these lawsuits allege that Johnson & Johnson knew their products contained asbestos, yet sold them anyway. Some claimants have already won their suits against the company, including one $4.7 billion judgment award for 22 women.

If you or someone you love has used Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder products and has recently been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, talk to a knowledgeable New York asbestos attorney about a possible lawsuit against the company. You could be one of the thousands of women with potential cases due to Johnson & Johnson’s negligent failure to protect consumers from the known presence of asbestos. A successful product liability lawsuit could lead to financial compensation to pay for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

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