Major cosmetic brands Chanel, Revlon, and L’Oreal are following suit
with Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and will stop the manufacture and sale of
talc-based cosmetic products. J&J is party to thousands of lawsuits alleging that the product they
are most known for, has and may still be contaminated with asbestos and
is the cause of their mesothelioma and ovarian cancer diagnosis. To date,
jury verdicts totaling billions of dollars have been awarded against J&J,
while countless others await their day in court.
In December 2018
Reuters News and
The New York Times published investigative reports showing evidence that J&J knew for
decades that their talc products had sometimes tested positive for asbestos,
and they told no one. J&J vigorously denied these claims but public
outcry finally pushed the FDA to conduct random testing and in late 2019
found asbestos in a bottle of baby powder.
In March 2020, the
FDA revealed that 20% of cosmetic talc products it tested were found to contain asbestos.
Chanel has removed talc from a loose face powder but continues to use talc
in other products including pressed powder, blush and eye shadow. Chanel
representative Amy Wyatt "We know that it was a safe product,"
Wyatt said in the deposition. But "we determined from public perception
to remove it from the market."
“Revlon products are formulated and tested according to the highest
safety and quality standards.” the company said in a statement.
“We have removed talc from our body products and, in our products
containing talc, Revlon only uses cosmetic grade talc that has been certified
L’Oreal said it is looking for a talc replacement but has not found
anything that works as well. “We have not detected any trace of
asbestos in any of our raw materials containing more than 20% talcum powder,”
L’Oreal’s spokeswoman said.
Talc is joining other commonly avoided ingredients in beauty like parabens
and sulfates. Talc is on Sephora’s list of 54 ingredients that can’t
be used, in order to be labeled “Clean” at Sephora, “Brands
need to conduct testing to ensure no contamination of asbestos.”
Other personal care companies are also being called to court.
- Avon currently has 128 lawsuits pending against it over its talc products.
- Germany’s Beiersdorf switched to corn starch in its Nivea baby powder in 2018.
- Bausch Health changed the formula of its Shower to Shower powder in 2018,
not because of safety concerns but “to keep the product in line
with market trends and customer preferences.” Bausch, which sold
talc powder up until February 2019, has been named in 165 lawsuits.
- Sanofi, maker of Gold Bond powder is also standing by the safety of its
talc powder and is “vigorously” contesting talc lawsuits against it.
Major companies ceasing manufacture of talc products is a huge step in
the right direction, and hopefully will give government representatives
the push needed to pass meaningful regulation in the fight against asbestos.