Researchers Link Talcum Powder to Mesothelioma in Women
By: chris.placitella @ Oct 11, 2014
Over the course of the last few years more and more has been learned about the kinds of exposure responsible for causing mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is so strongly related to asbestos exposure that when a diagnosis is made the first thing a knowledgeable doctor asks is how were you exposed to asbestos. Sometimes we cant find the exposures. The defense experts say that is because there was no exposure ie –the tumor was created spontaneously. I don’t believe that. What I do believe is that we don’t know all the possible exposures even when we do our best to figure it out. The following article linking cosmetic talc to mesothelioma proves the point.
Asbestos in commercial cosmetic talcum
powder as a cause of mesothelioma in women
Ronald E. Gordon1, Sean Fitzgerald2, James Millette3
1Department of Pathology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, USA, 2SAI Laboratory,
Greensboro, NC, USA, 3MVA Inc., Duluth, GA, USA
Background: Cosmetic talcum powder products have been used for decades. The inhalation of talc may
cause lung fibrosis in the form of granulomatose nodules called talcosis. Exposure to talc has also been
suggested as a causative factor in the development of ovarian carcinomas, gynecological tumors, and
Purpose: To investigate one historic brand of cosmetic talcum powder associated with mesothelioma in
Methods: Transmission electron microscope (TEM) formvar-coated grids were prepared with concentrations
of one brand of talcum powder directly, on filters, from air collections on filters in glovebox and
simulated bathroom exposures and human fiber burden analyses. The grids were analyzed on an analytic
TEM using energy-dispersive spectrometer (EDS) and selected-area electron diffraction (SAED) to
determine asbestos fiber number and type.
Results: This brand of talcum powder contained asbestos and the application of talcum powder released
inhalable asbestos fibers. Lung and lymph node tissues removed at autopsy revealed pleural
mesothelioma. Digestions of the tissues were found to contain anthophyllite and tremolite asbestos.
Discussion: Through many applications of this particular brand of talcum powder, the deceased inhaled
asbestos fibers, which then accumulated in her lungs and likely caused or contributed to her mesothelioma
as well as other women with the same scenario.
Keywords: Asbestos, Talcum powder, Chamber test, TEM, SEM, EDS, SAED, Mesothelioma