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Colgate-Palmolive Faces More Than 170 Cases Over Asbestos-Laced Talcum Powder, 43 Resolved

Household and consumer products giant Colgate-Palmolive says it is facing more than 170 cases accusing it of selling asbestos-laced talcum powder. The company has resolved 43 cases so far this year, many of which are tied one iconic product—Cashmere Bouquet.

Multiple lawsuits assert that the talc used in Cashmere Bouquet (sold from the early 1870s until 1995) came from mines contaminated with asbestos. After years of using the powder, the victims say they contracted mesothelioma and other cancers. Mesothelioma, among the deadliest of all cancers, is caused by exposure to asbestos.   

“Asbestos is dangerous because it has the ability to break down into microscopically thin fibers,” says the Minnesota Department of Health. The fibers are so small that “they can remain airborne for days after they are released into the air.” When asbestos fibers are inhaled, “they can travel to the ends of the small airways and enter the pleural lining of the lung and chest wall,” explains the American Cancer Society. “These fibers can then injure the cells of the pleura, and eventually cause (pleural) mesothelioma.”

Another type of mesothelioma known as peritoneal mesothelioma forms in the abdomen and can result from coughing up and swallowing inhaled asbestos fibers. Pericardial mesothelioma, an extremely rare form of mesothelioma, occurs when asbestos fibers find their way to the lining of the heart (pericardium) where they can remain lodged for decades before the disease develops. This is the same for pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma, which is why so many women are now developing the disease after decades of use.

In one of the Colgate-Palmolive suits, a woman alleged she used Cashmere Bouquet for more than 20 years before being diagnosed with mesothelioma. According to Bloomberg, the victim claimed that the company failed to warm her of the “risks, dangers and harm” to which she would be exposed through “inhalation or ingestion of the asbestos dust’’ in the body powders.

In the end, a California jury agreed and ordered Colgate-Palmolive to pay the victim $13 million.

If you have been exposed to asbestos or think you may have, see your doctor right away. Although there is no cure for mesothelioma, early diagnosis could lead to better treatment options and increased survival.

 

Sources

Feeley, Jef, and Margaret Cronin Fisk. "Colgate-Palmolive Settles Claims Over Asbestos in Its Talc." Bloomberg.com. Bloomberg, 10 Nov. 2017. Web. 11 Dec. 2017.

Levin, Myron. "Colgate-Palmolive Suffers Courtroom Loss in Asbestos-Talc Powder Case." FairWarning. FairWarning, 08 July 2015. Web. 11 Dec. 2017.

“What are the Risk Factors for Malignant Mesothelioma?” American Cancer Society. American Cancer Society, Inc., 2017. Web. 11 Dec. 2017.

"Why Is Asbestos Dangerous?" Minnesota Department of Health. Minnesota Department of Health, 20 Sept. 2016. Web. 11 Dec. 2017.