Two reports last week reinforce what many medical experts — and, unfortunately, even some mesothelioma patients — strongly believed.

At least some of Johnson & Johnson’s talcum-based baby powder includes dangerous asbestos, which can cause the incurable cancer.

Johnson & Johnson announced via a press release that it would recall “one lot” of asbestos-tainted baby powder. The news followed a report from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that revealed test results showing evidence of the carcinogen in the product.

This recall follows the publication of a TIME magazine article about talc products. The article cites a study that proved chrysotile asbestos, the type of the mineral found in many talc products, can cause mesothelioma.

Johnson & Johnson officials have defended their baby powder’s safety for months. They’ve fought mesothelioma lawsuits — and won some — under the guise that their product is not dangerous and does not cause cancer.

But asbestos is the primary cause of mesothelioma. And the type of asbestos that infiltrated Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder is, in fact, extremely harmful.


Johnson & Johnson’s Recall of Baby Powder: How It Happened

The New York Times reported the Johnson & Johnson recall news early on Oct. 18, 2019. The outlet’s report is based off a press release from the company.

According to the press release issued by Johnson & Johnson, an FDA test found “trace levels of chrysotile asbestos” in sample bottles purchased from an online retailer. Johnson & Johnson’s recall is limited to the 33,000-bottle lot from which the test was taken.

This revelation could give more strength to the claims that using baby powder and other talc-based products can cause mesothelioma.

Talc is a mineral used in many health and beauty products, and it is often found near asbestos. This neighborly relationship is why talc-based powders can be dangerous.

Asbestos can easily mix with talc and contaminate talc-based products. The New York Times report called mesothelioma “the signature disease of asbestos exposure.” Approximately 3,000 Americans each year are diagnosed with the aggressive cancer.

Johnson & Johnson has been the defendant in numerous mesothelioma lawsuits. The company has also long defended its product against claims that it causes cancer. The company appealed a $4.7 billion verdict in favor of 22 women, among other verdicts.

A new study refutes the notion that a talc-asbestos mixture doesn’t cause mesothelioma.


Study Links Talc Powder to Mesothelioma

The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine all but confirmed the link between asbestos-tainted talc powder and mesothelioma. The publication’s latest study — published on TIME magazine’s website — included 33 malignant mesothelioma patients. Their only substantial exposure was through talc powder.

The test results highlighted six cases of patients’ tissue showing chrysotile asbestos under a microscope. According to the TIME report, this asbestos type is not often found in construction and insulation supplies.

“Some of these people used products containing talcum powder daily for decades,” the same report states, and then cites an expert who says, “Everything points to cosmetic talc being the cause.”

So what should mesothelioma patients who have used Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder do now?

These two reports build at least the baseline for a connection between Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder and mesothelioma. Unless the asbestos was limited to just the single lot recalled, the product has likely been dangerous for decades.

So mesothelioma patients who have used the baby powder, either for themselves or for their child, have rights. They can seek legal action because their use of the product could be the cause of their disease.

Contact the patient advocate team at Mesothelioma Guide to learn more about the link between talc products and mesothelioma. Our registered nurse, Jenna Campagna, can explain further. Email her at

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    Devin Golden

    About the Writer, Devin Golden

    Devin Golden is the content writer for Mesothelioma Guide. He produces mesothelioma-related content on various mediums, including the Mesothelioma Guide website and social media channels. Devin's objective is to translate complex information regarding mesothelioma into informative, easily absorbable content to help patients and their loved ones.