Talc Exposure & Cancer: Myth or Danger?

Categories: Harmful Products

Jay Stillman

3 min read

Talc Powder Dangers

Many of you may remember when talc was first exposed as a health threat in the 1970s.  Consumers learned that the mineral talc, the principal component of talcum powder and a main ingredient in many cosmetics, is mined from sites which also contain asbestos.  Companies have been using “asbestos-free” talc for their consumer products since the danger of asbestos exposure was revealed. 

While there have been a number of suspected cases of ovarian cancer which may have been talc and asbestos-linked, consumer products companies have contended that there was no clear linkage to their product.  While they admitted that there may have been a problem in the past from pre-1970s exposure, they claimed that the current linkage between cancer and talc was simply a myth.

The fact is that many  body powders so common in homes all across America may contain this very dangerous cancer causing substance! Not only that, many parents use baby powder on their children! How dangerous can this be?!


Furthermore, a recent case of lethal mesothelioma cancer led lawyers and researchers from three labs down a trail to find the source of a talc-containing consumer product. The team exposed the lax standards which resulted in Colgate-Palmolive’s Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder product having significant asbestos contamination. 

What led the lawyers to pursue this case all the way to the Italian site where the talc was mined?  Simply, this: there is no known cause for mesothelioma except asbestos exposure.

 Tissue samples from the cancer victim yielded traces of asbestos, which were traceable all the way back to the point of origin for the talc-based product.

The news is not good—subsequent testing has shown that many other consumer products contain talc, and when tested, they often yield traces of asbestos.  Government regulation is also falling down on the job, by working in an after-the-fact manner, and not preventatively. 

The Seattle PI notes that according to an FDA spokesperson, the “‘FDA can take action against cosmetics on the market that do not comply with the law’, but the FDA is doing virtually nothing to assure that no asbestos is present in cosmetic products.”

Our advice is to read make-up labels very carefully and consider discarding talc-based products such as blush and eyeshadows. Breathing powder is risky, and anything used on your face may be
inhaled in traces significant enough to pose a danger to your health

You should also discard any body and baby powders that contain any talc. You cannot tell from the label whether it has traces of asbestos.

There are substitute powders based on starches, such as potato or corn starch.

Should you suspect that you or a loved one is suffering due to exposure to a consumer product, you can turn to Stillman & Friedland to advise you as to how to pursue your case.

For further information or if you think you have suffered from a talc containing product, call Stillman and Friedland at 615-244-2111 or email jay@jstillman.com