Breathing Talc Dust Has Been Known For Decades To Cause Cancer
With respect to Johnson's Baby Powder, "respirable quartz" may be as great a threat to people's health as asbestos
Wednesday, September 12, 2018 - So far plaintiffs suing Johnson & Johnson and alleging that Johnson's Baby Powder causes cancer, have focused on two types of cancer. The first six trials, four of which found in favor of the plaintiff, alleged that talc in Johnson's Baby Powder caused the inflammation in their ovaries that led to ovarian cancer. The second more recent set of trials have focused on the presence of asbestos, a known carcinogen, in the talc supply used by Johnson & Johnson for a variety of cosmetic products including Johnson's Baby Powder. Plaintiffs alleged that breathing asbestos in talc dust caused mesothelioma a deadly form of lung cancer. The third reason for talcum powder being suspected of being carcinogenic has been overlooked but may have been uncovered years ago.
Since 1978, scientists have expressed their concern about the safety of talcum powder-based products due to studies pointing to "findings of silica minerals in samples of commercial body powders. "The National Institute of Health (NIH), wrote that it thought that "inhaled powder could cause scarring of lung tissue, mesothelioma or lung cancer (Henderson et al., 1971). About half of the samples contained respirable quartz, a lung carcinogen."
At the time, the NIH prompted Johnson & Johnson to warn of this carcinogenic risk by updating Johnsons Baby Powder warning label to read, "Keep powder away from child's face to avoid inhalation which can cause breathing problems. Avoid contact with the eyes. For external use only." No mention was made, however, to the potentially cancerous effects breathing baby powder could have. To the contrary, Johnson & Johnson have branded the scent of their baby powder to actually encourage breathing it. So what is "respirable quartz" and how much of it is in talc?
According to www.crystallinesilica.eu, respirable quartz is a form of respirable crystalline silica or silicon dioxide. "Silicon and oxygen are the two most abundant elements in the earth's crust. Silica is commonly found in nature as sand. Silica exists in many different forms that can be crystalline as well as non-crystalline (amorphous). Quartz is the most common form of crystalline silica and is the second most common mineral on the earth's surface. It is found in almost every type of rock i.e. igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary. Since it is so abundant, quartz is present in nearly all mining operations." One of the properties of respirable quartz is the fact that once agitated it takes an unusually long time for the dust to settle as anyone who has ever shaken Johnson's Baby Powder can attest to. Respirable quartz can stay airborne for days increasing one's exposure to the potential lung carcinogen.
"Respirable crystalline silica dust can penetrate deep into the lungs. The body's natural defense mechanisms may eliminate much of the respirable dust inhaled. However, in case of prolonged exposure to excessive levels of this dust, it becomes difficult to clear the dust from the lungs and an accumulation can, in the long term, lead to irreversible health effects."