Talc is a mineral that is often used in various cosmetic and personal care products, such as Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder. While it is generally considered safe, there is a potential for talc to be contaminated with asbestos fibers, which can cause lung cancer if inhaled.
This is one of three types of cancer caused by Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder and other talc products.
The other two links are talc and mesothelioma, and talc and ovarian cancer. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer originating in the mesothelial cell linings, which are around the lung cavity, abdominal cavity and heart.
How exactly does talc cause lung cancer? The answer is based on the link between talc and asbestos, and then the link between asbestos and lung cancer. This explains the link between talc and lung cancer.
How Does Asbestos Cause Lung Cancer?
Asbestos lung cancer affects approximately 10,000 people in the United States each year. A portion of these cases might be caused by exposure to asbestos through the use of talcum powders.
Asbestos is a known carcinogen, and exposure to asbestos fibers has been linked to an increased risk of lung cancer. Asbestos fibers are small – so small that they aren’t seen with the human eye – and can be inhaled or swallowed without the person knowing.
If the fibers aren’t expelled from the body quickly, then they may travel into the respiratory system. The fibers are sharp and able to puncture lung tissue. If the asbestos fibers pierce the tissue or invade into the lungs, they can aggravate the cells and cause the cells to mutate. These mutated cells grow and multiply until they form a clump of cells called a tumor. This is how asbestos lung cancer starts.
How Using Talc Can Lead to Asbestos Exposure
When talc is mined, it can sometimes be contaminated with asbestos fibers. The two minerals are found in the same geographical regions, such as the Appalachian mountains region, which includes:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
If talc products are then used near the face or in a confined space, such as a bathroom, there is a potential for the fibers to be inhaled. This can lead to those fibers getting stuck in either lung and causing lung cancer.
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