When one mentions asbestos and products containing asbestos, most people’s thoughts turn to industrial products like cement, insulation, brake pads, and other such items. However, there have always been a number of household products that also contained the hazardous mineral. One of the most widely used asbestos-containing household products is baby powder (and other similar talcum powders).
It seems unlikely that baby powder could be unsafe. After all, it’s soft to the touch and has a pleasant smell. What most individuals don’t realize, however, is that powders containing talc also contain minute fibers that are strikingly similar to asbestos. Talc particles have been proven to cause both lung and ovarian cancers. As a matter of fact, scientists have long been concerned about the carcinogenic properties of talc; so much so that in 1973, the Food and Drug Administration drafted a resolution that would limit the amount of asbestos-like fibers in cosmetic grade talc. However, no ruling was ever made and cosmetic grade talc remains non-regulated by the federal government.
Talc particles can move through the female reproductive system or through the pulmonary system and become imbedded in vital organs, such as the ovaries or the lungs. Talc miners, for example, suffer from a much higher incidence of lung cancers than the general population because they are constantly inhaling small talc fibers. These lung cancers occur because industrial grade talc contains silica and asbestos, which is easily inhaled but cannot be expelled. The fibers cause scarring in the lungs and, eventually, lung cancers such as mesothelioma can develop.
For many years, doctors have been discouraging the use of baby powder for infants. Though it works well as a drying agent and fights against rashes, ointments are now the preferred remedy for diaper-related rashes. Records show that many infants have died or become seriously ill due to accidental inhalation of baby powder and the talc contained within it so those who use it clearly take a risk.
Evidence about the dangers of baby powder and other talcum powders was known to many for a number of years before the information was released to the general public. That means many individuals used baby powder daily without realizing its toxicity. If you or anyone you know has developed mesothelioma or other similar lung cancers due to asbestos exposure from baby powder, you or they may have a legal right to compensation for loss of income and/or pain and suffering. For more details, take a few moments to fill out our information request form to learn if you are eligible for compensation.
Last modified: December 28, 2010.