A California woman was recently awarded $13 million after she contracted mesothelioma from using talcum powder that contains asbestos. The powder was manufactured by Colgate-Palmolive. The woman’s attorneys claimed that she got mesothelioma from using Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder. The verdict was the first against Colgate-Palmolive for asbestos exposure from commercial talcum powder.

During the trial, the woman, who is 73 years old, told the court that she used the talcum powder from 1961 through 1976. At the time, the powder was popular. It wasn’t until 1973 that the federal government required that commercial talcum products be free from asbestos. Talc is one of the world’s softest minerals and has been mined from deposits that are interwoven with asbestos fibers. Asbestos causes mesothelioma, which is a cancer that is often terminal. Colgate-Palmolive says that the company’s talcum powder was not responsible for the woman’s cancer, and says that there was no proof introduced at trial that connect their product to the woman’s disease.

Talc is still widely used today in a lot of products, including cosmetics and pharmaceutical products, as well as chalk, rubber, and ceramics. Most manufacturers report that their talc is either free from asbestos or below detection limits.

The reason that talc often contains asbestos is that the two minerals are in such close proximity on the earth’s surface. In many cases, microscopic asbestos fibers can be inhaled without knowing it, and can stay in the body for decades before causing any health problems.

Five years ago, the FDA did extensive testing on cosmetics and talc products and found no asbestos fibers. However, the FDA labeled its study as inconclusive. In that past, talc suppliers have settled cases for asbestos-related illnesses, but the damages often went to factory workers who made the talc in the workplace. In 2013, a woman with mesothelioma was awarded $2 million against a company that made talc. Court documents show that the clothes her father brought home from the factory where he worked were covered in talc that was laced with asbestos.

Other studies have shown a link between ovarian cancer and the use of talc powders contaminated by asbestos in feminine hygiene products. According to the studies, toxic asbestos fibers can collect in the ovaries of women who are exposed to the mineral. Some researchers suspect that the use of talcum powder on the genital area could have led to ovarian malignancies. There is also some evidence that shows that women with ovarian cancer caused by asbestos exposure had a family member who worked with asbestos in a factory or a mine.

Although asbestos in consumer products was outlawed decades ago, it is still affecting families today. Evidence has shown that companies who worked with asbestos were aware of the dangers of asbestos long before the mineral was outlawed, but many of the companies did nothing to protect their workers from danger.

If you or a loved one has contracted mesothelioma, you may have a legal case against the company that contributed to your disease. Mesothelioma is a cancer of the mesothelium, which is a membrane that surrounds the lungs, heart and abdominal cavity. It is incurable and often fatal. People who are most at risk for developing mesothelioma include those exposed to older building supplies, furnaces, military machinery, paint, automobile clutches and brakes, and other products containing asbestos.

At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that anyone who contracts mesothelioma should consult with an attorney immediately. You may be entitled to compensation for damages, including punitive damages. Call San Francisco personal injury attorney Micha Star Liberty at 415-896-1000 or 510-645-1000. She will provide you with a free consultation on your case. Call to learn more.

Organizations & Awards

  • Top Alameda Employment Lawyers

Our Address & Phone

1999 Harrison Street, Suite 1800
Oakland, CA 94612-4700

Oakland (510) 645-1000
San Francisco (415) 896-1000