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Mesothelioma Associated with the Use of Cosmetic Talc

Moline, Jacqueline MD; Bevilacqua, Kristin MPH; Alexandri, Maya JD; Gordon, Ronald E. PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: October 10, 2019 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print - Issue - p
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001723
Original Article: PDF Only
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Objective: To describe exposures to talcum powder leading to mesothelioma among 33 individuals as a non-occupational asbestos exposure.

Methods: Cases were referred for medico-legal evaluation, and tissue digestions were performed in some cases. Tissue digestion for the six cases described was done according to standard methodology

Results: Asbestos of the type found in talcum powder was found in all six cases evaluated.. Talcum powder usage was the only source of asbestos for all 33 cases.

Conclusions: Exposure to asbestos-contaminated talcum powders can cause mesothelioma. Clinicians should elicit a history of talcum powder usage in all patients presenting with mesothelioma.

Northwell Health Department of Occupational Medicine Epidemiology and Prevention, Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell; 175 Community Drive, Great Neck, NY 11021 (Moline), Northwell Health Department of Occupational Medicine Epidemiology and Prevention; 175 Community Drive, Great Neck, NY 11021 (Bevilacqua), Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell; 500 Hofstra Blvd, Hempstead, NY 11549 (Alexandri), The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Department of Pathology; One Gustave L Levy Pl, New York, NY 10029 (Gordon).

Address correspondence to: Kristin Bevilacqua, MPH, Northwell Health, Great Neck, NY United States (kbevilacqu@northwell.edu).

Conflicts of interest: Authors JM and RG have served as expert witnesses in asbestos litigation, including talc litigation for plaintiffs.

Funding: No funds or external assistance were obtained by any outside source in the development, writing, analysis or conclusions of this manuscript.

Supplemental digital contents are available for this article. Direct URL citation appears in the printed text and is provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (www.joem.org).

Clinical Significance: This manuscript is the first to describe mesothelioma among talcum powder consumers. Our case study suggest that cosmetic talcum powder use may help explain the high prevalence of idiopathic mesothelioma cases, particularly among women, and stresses the need for improved exposure history elicitation among physicians.

Copyright © 2019 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine