Gold Bond Powder may contain asbestos. Gold Bond manufactures a variety of medicated body powders for adult use, all of which contain talc, a mineral that in powder form helps prevent rashes by absorbing moisture on the skin. According to the American Cancer Society, natural forms of talc may contain asbestos, a cancer-causing substance, because talc mines often occur naturally near deposits of asbestos, leading to cross-contamination.
Cosmetics-grade talc is approximately 98 percent pure, but the purity of talc is dependent upon the presence of asbestos in the environment where the talc is mined. This means that even cosmetics-grade talc could contain trace amounts of asbestos.
Talcum Powder and Asbestos
The link between talc and asbestos first became known in the 1970s. In 1976, the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrances Association (CTFA), issued voluntary guidelines stating talc used in cosmetic products, like Gold Bond, should be free of asbestos.
However, a recent slew of lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson (J&J), a major manufacturer of body powders, showed that products containing talcum powder may not be pure, and in fact, contributed to consumers developing cancer.
An investigation by Reuters alleges J&J knew that from 1971 to the early 2000s, talc used in its body powders contained trace amounts of asbestos, but did not disclose this information to consumers. In 2018, several legal judgments against J&J resulted in the company paying millions of dollars in damages to consumers whose mesothelioma and ovarian cancers were found to be linked to the use of its body powders.
Sanofi, Gold Bond’s parent company, was named alongside J&J and other national brands in a lawsuit alleging that its talcum powder products contain multiple carcinogens and reproductive toxins. The suit was filed in the Superior Court of California in January 2020.
Although manufacturers should be responsible for the purity of the talc used in their products, trace amounts of asbestos were previously found in cosmetic talcum powder. Though there may be conflicting studies about the link between talc, asbestos, and cancer, many health organizations urge caution when using products containing talcum powder.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns repeated talc inhalation may harm the lungs, the International Agency for Research on Cancer believes talcum powder may be carcinogenic when used on the genitals, and the European Union banned the sale of health and beauty products containing talc.
Health Risks Associated with Talcum Powder
The use of talcum powder has primarily been linked to two forms of cancer; mesothelioma and ovarian cancer in women.
The Mayo Clinic defines mesothelioma as an “aggressive and deadly” form of cancer that causes tumors in the tissue surrounding the lungs, but also can affect tissue around the heart, abdomen, and testicles. Symptoms of mesothelioma include shortness of breath, chest pain, coughing, lumps of tissue under the skin on the chest, abdominal pain and swelling, and unexplained weight loss.
Though medical opinion on a direct link between asbestos in cosmetic talcum powder and lung cancers has been debated, a 2020 study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine looked at 33 individuals with malignant mesothelioma. The study determined that in all cases, the only asbestos exposure came from contact with cosmetic talcum powders. Asbestos exposure is a recognized cause of mesothelioma. Miners working in talc mines may also show an increased risk of lung cancer from talc inhalation.
Ovarian cancer develops in the ovaries, but often goes undiagnosed until it spreads to the abdomen and pelvis. Because of this late detection, it can be more difficult to treat. According to the Women’s Health Research Institute (WHRI) at Northwestern University, ovarian cancer is “one of the most deadly gynecological cancers.” Symptoms of ovarian cancer include abdominal bloating and swelling, pelvic discomfort, changes in bowel habits, frequent urination, and weight loss.
The WHRI cites a study published in the journal Epidemiology which found that using talcum powder on the genitals could increase the risk of ovarian cancer by 33 percent, especially with daily usage. Even without the presence of asbestos, it is believed talc may cause ovarian cancer if the powder particles travel through the reproductive system into the ovaries, according to the American Cancer Society.
If you believe you have symptoms of mesothelioma or ovarian cancer, consult a doctor.
For a free legal consultation, call (800) 794-0444
Seek Justice and Financial Recovery with Pintas & Mullins Law Firm
If you or a loved one used Gold Bond Powder and received a diagnosis of ovarian cancer or mesothelioma, Pintas & Mullins Law Firm may be able to help. You may be entitled to seek compensation for personal injury or wrongful death from the makers of Gold Bond Powder. Contact our team today at (800) 794-0444 for a free case evaluation.