How asbestos found its way into many household talc products

Lawsuits alleging that common household talc products contained asbestos are mounting across the U.S.

Talc is a product that is widely used in many household products, such as baby powder and beauty products, due to its ability to absorb moisture. However, natural talc deposits are often found close to asbestos deposits, which means that talc can easily become contaminated with asbestos. That has led to a growing number of claims against manufacturers of talc products that they may not have done enough to protect their customers from potential asbestos contamination. Asbestos, even in trace amounts, is considered highly dangerous and can lead to mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer.

Asbestos in talc products

Asbestos and talc are two minerals that occur naturally. While talc powder itself is safe for human use, because these two minerals are often found in close proximity to each other, there is fear that talcum powder used in common consumer goods could be contaminated with asbestos. As Asbestos.com reports, prior to federal regulations concerning asbestos being introduced in the 1970s, studies found that talc products contained traces of asbestos.

While a trace amount of asbestos may not sound like much, its presence in household products is highly concerning. That is because asbestos is considered extremely dangerous even in small amounts and can eventually cause victims to develop mesothelioma and other asbestos-related problems.

Lawsuits mount against companies

The presence of asbestos in talc products has led to a growing number of lawsuits against companies that manufacture talc products. Many of the lawsuits allege that these companies knew their products could contain trace amounts of asbestos and continued marketing them anyways. Indeed, as Reuters reports, in a recent California lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, the plaintiff alleges that Johnson & Johnson knew asbestos could be found in talc products but instructed its employees to reassure customers that such products were safe.

While Johnson & Johnson won that case, another company, Colgate-Palmolive, recently settled its case with a woman who claimed their talcum powder product led to her developing mesothelioma. Colgate-Palmolive is currently facing more than 170 cases related to asbestos in its talc products. Johnson and Johnson, meanwhile, is facing lawsuits from over 5,500 plaintiffs across the nation over concerns that alleged asbestos in its talc products increased women's risk of developing ovarian cancer.

Getting legal help

Many people wrongly assume that because asbestos is widely known to cause mesothelioma, that it is outright banned or only a danger to those working in high-risk industries. However, contact with asbestos is still common. From home insulation to vehicle repair shops, asbestos is worryingly widespread. For those who believe their health may have been harmed by exposure to asbestos, it is important to talk to an attorney today. An attorney who specializes in handling asbestos-related cases can show clients what legal options may be available and whether they may be eligible for compensation.