Much to-do has been made about the danger of talc and talcum powder. The ingredient in health and beauty care products, such as baby powders and skin care and makeup or blush, has been linked to cancer.
One of the cancers tied to talc is mesothelioma, a rare and deadly disease that affects just a few thousand. It’s diagnosed in around 2,500 people every year in the United States.
How does talc cause mesothelioma? Do you understand the science behind why talc is dangerous and causes this rare cancer?
Let’s explore the science and reveal just how this mineral can lead to tumors in the body.
Talc and Asbestos: A Cause of Mesothelioma
Talc is a naturally occurring mineral used in many industries; however, the mineral is linked to another mineral: asbestos, which is the only known cause of mesothelioma.
Asbestos usually causes mesothelioma from workers who use asbestos as a fire-resistant mineral in construction, insulation, electrical wires, automobile parts, roof tiles, siding, paint and more.
Industries purposefully used asbestos for decades because it’s cheap, easy to find, easy to manufacture, durable, and resistant to heat. Many companies used asbestos while knowing it could cause cancer.
Another way people are exposed to asbestos is incidentally, such as asbestos inadvertently contaminating health and beauty products containing talc as the main ingredient.
Talc and Asbestos: Mining Mixtures
When talc is mined, it is often found in close proximity to asbestos, meaning talc can be contaminated with toxic asbestos fibers. The microscopic asbestos fibers can become airborne, blending in with talc, and inhaled (breathed in) or ingested (swallowed) by workers in the mine or by consumers using products containing talc on their skin.
Asbestos fibers are sharp on both ends. If they get stuck into tissue linings, they can cause cancer. If asbestos fibers get stuck in the mesothelial tissue linings of the lungs, abdomen or heart, then the cells can mutate into mesothelioma.
The most infamous asbestos-containing talc product is Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder. The company has been sued repeatedly for its negligence related to producing and distributing a known asbestos-contaminated talc product. Many claims include reports of mesothelioma and other cancers caused by the frequent use of Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder. The other two cancers caused by using talcum powder are lung cancer and ovarian cancer.
Summary of How Talc Causes Mesothelioma
In summary, talc causes mesothelioma through asbestos contamination in talcum powder. When talc is mined, it can mistakenly include asbestos rock substance or fragments. When talc is ground into talcum powder to add to skincare (blush, mascara, etc.) and health powders, any firm or solid asbestos is likely broken up into sharp, loose fibers.
Using talcum powders run the risk of asbestos exposure and eventually a mesothelioma cancer diagnosis. There have been many cases of mesothelioma from the use of talc products like Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder, among others. These stories often come to light due to lawsuits and verdicts favoring the mesothelioma cancer victims.
Talc causes mesothelioma because of loose asbestos fibers. While talc itself is not necessarily dangerous, it is dangerous due to its association with asbestos. As the old saying goes, “You’re only as good as the company you keep.”
More About Mesothelioma Cancer
Mesothelioma is a rare and very aggressive form of cancer affecting the lining of the lungs, heart, or abdomen, with less than 3,000 diagnoses each year. Most mesothelioma patients are diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lungs. Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the lining of the abdomen, while pericardial mesothelioma affects the lining of the heart. All types of mesothelioma are rare, but mesothelioma in the heart or stomach are even more rare.
The only known cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. With most claims of asbestos exposure occurring at work, it is possible to be exposed to the cancer-causing mineral by using common talcum powder products, or even visiting old buildings containing legacy asbestos – asbestos used to construct the building when asbestos was not regulated.
If you have any concerns about talc or how it can affect your health, contact our registered nurse, Karen Ritter, at firstname.lastname@example.org. She can help answer questions related to your health or possible asbestos exposure.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is important to speak with an experienced mesothelioma attorney who can help you understand your legal rights and options.
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