Cancer from Asbestos-Containing Talcum Powder

Cancer from Asbestos-Containing Talcum Powder | Pintas & Mullins Law Firm

Talcum powder has recently been linked to ovarian and uterine cancer in women who used the product in the genital area over long periods of time. This has resulted in massive news coverage and multi-million dollar lawsuits against companies like Johnson & Johnson.

Lesser known, however, is the potential for talcum powder containing asbestos to cause asbestos-related disease, such as mesothelioma and lung cancer. Our team of talcum powder lawyers urges the public to make this risk known so exposure may be avoided at all costs.

A woman in California, Judith Winkel, was recently diagnosed with mesothelioma, which is a form of cancer caused exclusively by exposure to asbestos. Winkel believes her mesothelioma was caused by Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder, a brand Colgate sold in the mid-1990s. This particular brand of talc powder is known to be contaminated with asbestos.

Winkel and her husband sued Colgate-Palmolive Co. on five separate claims, including failure to warn and defective manufacturing. After just two hours of deliberation, the jury unanimously found in favor of Winkel on all counts and determined that Colgate acted with malice by knowingly endangering consumers using Cashmere Bouquet. Winkel and her husband were awarded $13 million in damages.

Spontaneous Mesothelioma in Women

A study published in 2014 in the American Thoracic Society Journal examined seven women diagnosed with mesothelioma who had no other source of asbestos exposure except for the use of Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder. The researchers intended to prove that Cashmere Bouquet was the causative factor in their mesothelioma development.

Researchers began by testing 50 containers of Cashmere Bouquet talc powder from a variety of sources for the presence of asbestos. They found varying amounts of asbestos in the talcum powder. One of the patients died during the course of the study; after death, her lungs and lymph nodes were tested for the presence of asbestos. Medical experts found substantial amounts of asbestos with similar core fibers of those found in the Cashmere Bouquet powder.

Researchers concluded that the patient’s mesotheliomas were caused by a combination of asbestos and talc.

Mesothelioma is most common among industrial workers who have been directly exposed to airborne asbestos, such as construction workers and pipefitters. Many people diagnosed with mesothelioma never worked in high-risk occupations, however. “Idiopathic” or “spontaneous” mesothelioma is the term for mesothelioma that occurs in the absence of any asbestos exposure.

Between 70-80% of women with mesothelioma are regarded as idiopathic, as they have no known history of asbestos exposure. Far too many women are unaware that talcum powder products like Cashmere Bouquet contained asbestos and may be the cause of their exposure.

Another, equally important possible source of exposure is through family members who work around asbestos. A 2014 study from the Danish Medical Journal found that nearly half of women diagnosed with mesothelioma were exposed to asbestos at home. Thus, this type of illness is often called “take-home” or “second-hand” mesothelioma. 

Someone that works directly with asbestos, or is at a high risk of asbestos exposure, can carry asbestos fibers home with them on their clothing, boots and hair. Anyone living with these workers can then inhale the asbestos fibers once they enter the home. Domestic exposure of this kind is not uncommon and is vastly underreported. Study after study has found that living with a high-risk worker is a potent risk factor for developing mesothelioma.

Our talcum powder lawyers are currently accepting cases of ovarian, lung, uterine, and mesothelioma development from talc powder use. If you or someone you love was diagnosed with cancer you believe was caused by asbestos or talcum powder, contact our firm immediately for a free case review.