Many Mesothelioma Lawsuits Now Allege Exposure From Talc

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KCIC, an asbestos litigation consulting firm, compiled the report. In the KCIC’s seven years of compiling litigation, it is the first in which the firm dedicated a specific section to talc exposure.

KCIC did not offer a specific explanation for its sudden focus on talc. Outside the report, scientific and legal developments have helped increase awareness of the dangers of talc exposure. KCIC’s talc reporting adds to a trend that may spell trouble for talc manufacturers.

Majority of Asbestos-Talc Lawsuits Tied to Mesothelioma

In the past four years, the number of lawsuits alleging talc exposure ranged from about 8% to 11%. The lawsuits blamed talc exposure for various asbestos-related conditions, including:

  • Benign (non-cancerous) conditions
  • Lung cancer
  • Mesothelioma
  • Other cancers

The majority of these filings have been related to mesothelioma. Most recently in 2021, mesothelioma patients filed 94% of talc-related asbestos exposure lawsuits. This percentage is notably higher than in previous years.

Asbestos Lawsuits Alleging Talc Exposure

Year Malignant Mesothelioma Other Types of Asbestos-
Related Diseases
2018 264 85
2019 285 159
2020 286 106
2021 272 16
Total Asbestos Lawsuits 1,107 366

Why Are Talc Exposure Allegations Increasing?

The KCIC report does not speculate why allegations of talc exposure seem to be increasing. Factors that may be contributing to the increase in asbestos talc-exposure lawsuits include:

  • Recent reports of companies knowingly selling asbestos-contaminated talc products
  • Recent scientific evidence of asbestos-contaminated talc as a cause of mesothelioma

Companies have used talc in baby powders and other cosmetic products for decades. In the 1970s, it became public knowledge that this talc may be contaminated with asbestos.

Recent research has also helped establish the link between asbestos-contaminated talc and mesothelioma. Two 2020 studies found linked cases of mesothelioma to talc exposure. One found 75 linked cases and the other found 33 linked cases.

In these studies, the mesothelioma patients had no known source of asbestos exposure other than talcum powder. These studies have helped establish the link between asbestos-contaminated talc and mesothelioma.

There has also been an increase in public awareness of companies knowingly selling contaminated talc products. For example, a 2018 investigation from Reuters showed that Johnson & Johnson (J&J) knew about asbestos in its baby powder products for decades. J&J alone has faced thousands of talc-related asbestos lawsuits.