A 73-year-old woman who developed the fatal lung cancer mesothelioma after using talcum powder with traces of asbestos was awarded $13 million by a Los Angeles jury who found the manufacturer Colgate-Palmolive Co. was responsible for the woman’s illness.
Billions of dollars have been paid in verdicts and settlements in cases where people have developed mesothelioma and other serious lung conditions from exposure to asbestos. However, most of those cases involve people who have worked in the construction materials or insulation industry. The woman’s case is somewhat unique because she was a consumer who was exposed to asbestos through a talc-containing product.
Asbestos, a mineral naturally found in talc, is a carcinogen that can be breathed into the lungs where it can cause lung cancer and mesothelioma, a tumor of the tissue that lines the lungs, stomach, heart and other organs. About five years ago, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted a study on talc-containing products, including face powder, baby powder and body powder, and determined that the products do not contain asbestos. However, concerns remain about trace amounts of asbestos in commercial talc products, as well as other potentially cancer-causing minerals.
Studies dating back to the 1970s have shown an association between talcum powder and cancer, and not just lung cancers. The powder has been linked to ovarian cancer when used by women on the genitals for personal hygiene. In fact, last year a jury found that Johnson & Johnson’s Shower to Shower body powder contributed to a woman’s ovarian cancer and that the consumer health care giant was aware of this risk and should have warned consumers on the labels of its talcum powder products.
Source: US News