If you’ve watched the news recently, you may have heard the big announcement from Johnson & Johnson. On May 19th, the company announced the discontinuation of North American sales of its very popular talc-based baby powder. So popular, in fact, that the baby powder began production in 1894, and some say once defined the company’s image. However, according to many studies, talc is linked with women who used the product and later developed cancer. Now facing thousands of lawsuits, regardless of the company standing by its product, Johnson & Johnson talc-based baby powder will no longer be distributed.
So what does all this have to do with asbestos? As the premier company for asbestos removal in MA, our team at Atlantic Bay Contracting dug a little deeper and wants to take the time to share some interesting facts. Let’s start by saying this news surfaced in October when the FDA found nine retail cosmetic products containing asbestos.
Beyond the suspected link to ovarian cancer, talc is also speculated to contain asbestos.
What is talc?
A face with several names; talc, talcum, talcum powder, and magnesium silicate, to name a few. However, pure talc is a mined mineral made up mainly of magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. When used in powder form, talc is a highly effective solution for moisture absorption, among other properties. Thus, a seemingly sensible solution to avoid rashes, or is it?
In its natural state, some forms of talc contain asbestos. This combination of minerals occurs due to the proximity in some, but not all, of the metamorphic rocks in which they lie beneath the Earth’s surface. There is growing concern that during the mining process, the two have crossed-contaminated one another.
Most talc in the United States is mined in open pits where the rock is drilled, blasted, and partially crushed. During the process, there is great care taken to avoid contaminating the talc with other materials, such as asbestos. However, this is the practice under fire at the moment. The rock is then taken from the mine site and further reduced in size to be used in several consumer products.
The use of talc is so common that many of us use talc-based every day without even knowing that we’re doing so. Talc can be found in plastics, ceramics, paint, paper, roofing materials, antiperspirants, and, of course, a range of cosmetic products.
Johnson & Johnson continues to stand by its product, insisting that their own hired independent laboratories found no traces of asbestos in their product. The samples tested included those tested for the FDA. While we, as consumers, are left uncertain, we are at least aware.
One thing we do know without a doubt is that with prolonged exposure asbestos can cause several types of cancer including ovarian, mesothelioma, and lung disease.
At Atlantic Bay Contracting, our team excels in asbestos removal in MA. For more information, contact our team at (617) 782-4986.