After spending years insisting its products were safe, Johnson & Johnson recently made a game-changing announcement. It will soon stop selling talc-based baby powders believed to contain asbestos throughout the country, including here in Ohio. The hope is that other companies using loose talc will do the same since it is believed that any exposure to this human carcinogen is not safe.
The problem is that talc and asbestos often form in the same rock. This makes it nearly impossible to mine one without obtaining at least trace amounts of the other. Even small amounts of asbestos in talc could lead to dangerous asbestos-related diseases decades in the future, and J&J’s baby powder is not the only product consumers use that contain loose talc-based powder.
In fact, makeup kits sold nationwide used by kids were found to contain asbestos. Even with the restrictions placed on it by the federal government, it still makes it way into products people use every day. Even though not all of the nearly 15,000 asbestos-related deaths that occur each year are not due to consumer products, some of them are.
The fact that J&J is going to stop contributing to those numbers in its way is a good start, but it comes too late for many people here in Ohio and elsewhere who have already suffered exposure to the asbestos in the company’s talc-based baby powders. They may already have a condition related to this toxic material through no fault of their own. All they did was use products they were told was safe, which for many turned out to be far from the truth.