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Are talc products as dangerous as asbestos products?

We often discuss the dangers that asbestos exposure can have on victims on this blog. The risks of asbestos have been known for decades, yet people are still developing illnesses and dying from other people's negligence with using the fiber in products. In many cases, victims have been able to file product liability claims against manufacturers who are held responsible for the damage that their products can do to consumers.

Another emerging issue that is showing frightening similarities to asbestos exposure and related diseases involves a similarly dangerous product. The Cancer Prevention Coalition has stated that talc is closely related to asbestos, making it a danger to users across North Carolina and the entire country.

Talc, like asbestos, is mined and is a very tiny fiber that is used in many products. The mineral is frequently used in cosmetic products to absorb moisture or prevent caking. Despite the fact that the Food and Drug Administration has yet to formally acknowledge the toxicity of talc, studies have long shown the connection between talc exposure and the development of tumors in the lungs and ovaries.

A number of lawsuits have been filed against manufacturers of products that contain talc. These claims, predominantly filed by individuals, have accused negligent companies of putting the dangerous talc in products, conspiracy, fraud and even destroying evidence that would prove asbestos-like fibers in talc is known to be linked to mesothelioma.

While there is also industrial grade talc, the products that commonly contain talc is cosmetic grade talc which does not generally contain asbestos-like fibers. However, cosmetic grade talc is not regulated by the FDA and is most commonly used in baby powder, deodorant, antacids and other medications. These products are available widely, meaning that the number of people exposed to the dangerous product on a regular basis could be enormous.

Until a definitive and universal stance on talc can be reached, consumers are urged to purchase and use products that do not contain talc. In place of talc, many manufacturers use cornstarch, tapioca starch or arrowroot as safer and more natural alternatives to talc. Like asbestos, avoiding any level of exposure is the safest route to staying healthy.

Source: The Huffington Post, "A Puff, Poof or Dab of Danger," Indie Lee, Nov. 6, 2012

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