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Chanel, Revlon, and L'Oreal Join Johnson & Johnson in Removing Talc from Products

Chanel, Revlon, and L'Oreal Logo

Chanel, Revlon, and L'Oreal Join Johnson & Johnson in Removing Talc from Products

Chanel, Revlon, and L'Oreal Logo

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 asbestos-free,”

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.