A new study supports previous information that links cosmetic talc to mesothelioma. Cosmetic talc that contains asbestos may cause this specific type of cancer with prolonged use.
A study was conducted by medical professionals at Peninsula Pathology Associates, which is located in Newport News, Virginia. The study was the most comprehensive done on the subject.
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer in the lungs which is mainly caused by asbestos fibers that have been inhaled or ingested. It’s an aggressive cancer that can lead to death with minimal treatment options that have a success rate.
The study was conducted with 75 patients who had been diagnosed with the cancer. Of those 75, 64 were women. The patients were only exposed to asbestos by using talcum powder as far as they were aware. Four of the patients had occupational exposure to talc, either as a cosmetologist or barber or a person sweeping up in the facility. A total of twelve of the people who were diagnosed with the cancer were under the age of 45 while the national average age of diagnosis is 73.
The average duration the person was exposed was 33 years. Everyone agreed that they were exposed over and over for decades, but the levels of exposure weren’t part of the study.
In the past, it was believed that mesothelioma occurred in men who worked in blue-collar jobs around asbestos, such as in construction or building renovations. However, there is a growing number of people being diagnosed with the disease that don’t fit the traditional factors, especially with women.
The FDA had tested 52 cosmetic products earlier in 2020 and found asbestos in nine. All of those products have now been recalled. In October of 2019, the FDA found traces of asbestos in Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder, initiating a recall of the product.
Baby powder isn’t the only product that can contain asbestos. It may also be found in makeup products where talc is often an ingredient to reduce moisture. It can also be in children’s toys and even in crayons. Talc and asbestos are regularly found in the earth near each other. It’s easy to mix the two when talc is being mined. However, the purifying process should remove any asbestos fibers from the talc before it’s put into a product.
Many believe that cosmetic products should be regulated by the FDA after seeing the results of this and other studies on the subject. They also believe more large-scale studies need to be conducted to determine the risk of developing cancer after exposure. The authors of the study suggest that cosmetic talc may need to be removed from the market completely due to the poor prognosis associated with mesothelioma.
Treatments are available that help manage the condition but there is no known cure. Patients diagnosed with mesothelioma may undergo chemotherapy, surgery or radiotherapy as part of the treatment plan. Symptoms include pain in the chest, coughing, shortness of breath and loss of weight. If the condition is peritoneal mesothelioma, it may be accompanied by abdominal pain and swelling. It metastasizes quickly, which accounts for the poor prognosis.