During recent testing in October 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that one lot of Johnson’s Baby Powder contained chrysotile asbestos. At the same time, the FDA tested another lot, and that lot was not tainted with asbestos. The FDA recommended those who had baby powder from the tainted lot – Lot #22318RB – to return the powder or at the very least, get rid of it since asbestos could cause cancer.
How Does Talc Get Contaminated with Asbestos?
Talc and asbestos are naturally occurring products. However, when the miners find a talc deposit, they must be sure that the site isn’t contaminated with chrysotile asbestos. Miners also have to purify the talc ore so that it doesn’t contain chysotile asbestos. The two minerals are closely related and are found in similar areas. In fact, the chemical make up for chrysotile asbestos is Mg3Si2H4O9, Mg3(Si2O5)(OH)4 or H4Mg3O9Si2, depending on the type of chrysotile asbestos, while the chemical formula for talc is H2Mg3O12Si4. As you can see, asbestos and talc both contain magnesium, silicon, oxygen and hydrogen.
Because the FDA found chrysotile asbestos in that one batch of talc, Johnson & Johnson voluntarily recalled Johnson’s Baby Powder. Asbestos is a carcinogen, which causes cancer. Although cosmetics are held to a lower standard than food and do not have to be reviewed by the FDA, manufacturers must be sure that no harm comes to users. The FDA sporadically tests talc and cosmetics. However, the agency worked on an on-going survey since 2018 and will continue testing. Thus far, the FDA tested about 50 cosmetic products. Two lots of Johnson’s Baby Powder were included in this testing.
Because chrysotile asbestos was found in one of the lots, the FDA will continue to test samples of cosmetic products that contain talc, including baby powder, though the agency’s available resources are limited.
The Cancer Fight
Some patients blamed ovarian cancer and mesothelioma on the use of Johnson’s baby powder. Johnson & Johnson deny that their product has dangerous levels of asbestos in it. However, if the asbestos that might be in baby powder reaches the ovaries, it could cause ovarian cancer. It could also cause mesothelioma.
Allegedly, Johnson & Johnson tested their product as early as the 1970s and found asbestos in it, but deferred to the FDA’s findings. However, the FDA does not test every lot, so it’s hit or miss as to whether the FDA will find asbestos in the talc used to make baby powder.
If you have ovarian cancer or mesothelioma and suspect the use of baby powder might have caused it, contact Wallace & Graham to discuss your situation. We will help you notify the FDA that the use of baby powder may have caused your cancer.
The fight against contaminated baby powder is not new – people have been making accusations against talc companies for decades. However, it is only recently that some juries have been siding with those living with cancer after reviewing evidence, especially those with ovarian cancer.
Contact Wallace & Graham
If you have ovarian cancer or mesothelioma, or another cancer that may have been caused by asbestos and you use a lot of talc products, contact Wallace & Graham for a consultation to discuss your case.
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