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Cosmetics Companies Dumping Talc From Makeup

Posted by Michael Throneberry | Jul 21, 2020

Some of the biggest cosmetics companies in the world are beginning to remove talc from the list of ingredients in their makeup products, likely due in no small part to the slew of multi-million-dollar verdicts being handed down by juries across the United States. Some of the high-profile companies that are considering removing the mineral from their cosmetics products include Chanel, Revlon, and L'Oreal. Pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson, itself the target of thousands of talcum powder asbestos cancer lawsuits, recently announced it would no longer use talc in its iconic Baby Powder.

Luxury beauty company Chanel has removed talc minerals from one of its face powders and discontinued a talc-based body powder altogether due to the negative publicity talc-based cosmetics has received in months and years. Revlon, for its part, has ceased using talc altogether in its beauty products. Further, L'Oreal is in the process of finding alternatives for talc in its products as well. Although talc itself does not contain asbestos, the two are both naturally occurring minerals which can be found in deposits near one another, which can lead to cross contamination if precautions are not taken.

Since 2016, Chanel has faced a handful of lawsuits brought by plaintiffs who claim they developed serious forms of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos fibers in contaminated talc used in the company's beauty products. In 2017, Chanel stopped producing a talcum powder body powder scented with its No. 5 fragrance, according to a deposition taken in a mesothelioma cancer lawsuit filed in a Los Angeles court.

Perhaps the most infamous case of a major cosmetics company discontinuing the use of talc in its beauty products is Johnson & Johnson, which announced last month that it would no longer sell talc-based body powders in the United States, though international sales would continue. That move came in the face of an estimated 17,000 lawsuits filed in state and federal courts that have piled up over the years, brought by plaintiffs who claimed they developed mesothelioma and other serious forms of cancer from using asbestos-contaminated Baby Powder and other beauty products.

To date, juries in state courts have handed down billions of dollars in total compensation to dozens of plaintiffs who have brought talcum powder asbestos cancer lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and its long time tacl supplier, Imerys Talc. The latter recently entered into a proposed bankruptcy settlement agreement, which would sell off all of its North American assets to set up a trust to fund payments for claimants who assert negligence on the part of Imerys.

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About the Author

Michael Throneberry

Attorney Michael Throneberry graduated from Purdue University with a Civil Engineering degree. He then served with the United States Army...

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