Can Talcum Powder cause Asbestos Related Diseases?

Most people who buy talcum powder don’t associate it with asbestos related diseases. Usually we only remember ads with smiling mothers and babies.

Years ago virtually every household had some talcum powder, especially where there were babies or elderly women. Traditionally talc was used to keep a baby’s bottom or our own skin dry. It left a pleasant, sometimes perfumed odour on our bodies and made us feel fresh after getting out of a bath.  Sometimes people put it in their shoes to help with smelly feet.

However, several studies conducted over many years have highlighted a higher risk for women. Those using talcum powder for intimate personal hygiene have up to 30% more risk of developing certain types of ovarian cancer.  Other research indicates that inhalation of talcum powder may result in mesothelioma.

There has been some criticism of testing methods used on talcum powder and other potential asbestos containing products.  It has been suggested that testing should be more sensitive in order to identify asbestos contamination.

So should we stop using the powder? Here is some information that might help you decide:

What is talcum powder?

Talcum powder is produced when talc rocks are crushed, dried and milled. These rocks contain natural minerals including silicon and magnesium.  For many years talc contained asbestos and has now been linked to asbestos related diseases including cancer.

The talc we use today shouldn’t be contaminated but asbestos testing may not pick up minuscule fibres.

Application of talc

It’s better not to use talcum powder on intimate areas since when it has absorbed moisture it can travel.  Its journey through the vagina can lead it to the womb (uterus) through the fallopian tubes and then into the ovaries.

Shaking talc over your body makes it airborne and you could easily inhale a fair amount of it.  Overall if you use a dry towel and dry yourself thoroughly, there is no need to use talc.

Legal action for asbestos related diseases

Those who worked in talc mines and in the production of talcum powder were largely unaware of the dangers.  In the USA mesothelioma deaths have been exceptionally high where talc mining took place.

There are several high profile legal actions in America, including thousands of claims against Johnson and Johnson, renowned for its baby powder.  In a recent case the company was order to pay a total of 417 million dollars in compensatory and punitive damages to one plaintiff who suffered ovarian cancer.

Legal redress is available to anyone who has been exposed to this dangerous mineral and to the families of those whose relatives have died from asbestos related diseases.  Naturally you should seek legal advice from specialist lawyers for your specific case.

Asbestos Sampling

For more information read our article about asbestos products lurking in your kitchen and visit our blog regularly for latest news and advice.

If you believe your home contains asbestos and want to know for sure, consider buying an asbestos testing kit. You and your family deserve a safe and healthy environment in which to live.