Talc is a mineral that is often mined in close proximity to where asbestos is found. It is sometimes impossible to separate these two minerals, and therefore, the talc may be contaminated with asbestos.

Talc is most often used after being ground into a fine powder. This powder is light and hangs in the air, and it can be easily inhaled. Therefore, the use of asbestos-contaminated talc powder can lead to asbestos being inhaled, too.

Talc powder absorbs moisture, oils and odors, and has an astringent effect on human skin. It can also keep materials from sticking. These properties make it popular for both industrial uses (including in tires and industrial ceramics such as sanitary ware – toilets, basins, etc.) and for baby powders, foot powders and cosmetics.

People who contract asbestos-related illnesses, but who did not work in jobs traditionally associated with exposure to asbestos, may have been exposed to asbestos through talc. Both New York and New Jersey juries have recently awarded damages against cosmetic talc manufacturers to mesothelioma victims who were exposed to asbestos by using contaminated talc.

Even though, by 1972, the FDA’s testing revealed many popular cosmetic talc products were likely contaminated with asbestos, the manufacturers of these brands continued to sell them for decades longer.