Suggested links

Asbestos in Baby Powder

Some brands of baby powder were manufactured with talc that may have contained asbestos fibers. Exposure to asbestos in baby powder can cause mesothelioma cancer and other illnesses later in life. If you or a loved one developed mesothelioma after using talc-based baby powder products, you may be eligible for legal compensation.

Fact-Checked and Updated by: Jenna Tozzi, RN

Last updated:

What Are the Health Risks of Asbestos in Baby Powder?

Three containers of baby powder

Talc is a primary ingredient in many cosmetic products, including baby powder. Many talc-based products also contain asbestos, a damaging fibrous mineral. While scientists debate whether talc is harmful on its own, there is no doubt that asbestos is deadly.

Asbestos — including asbestos found in talc-based products like baby powder — is linked to serious diseases including mesothelioma, asbestosis, ovarian cancer, and lung cancer.

“Talc that has asbestos is generally accepted as being able to cause cancer if it is inhaled.”
— The American Cancer Society

Asbestos fibers can become trapped in the linings of major organs when breathed in or swallowed. Since the human body doesn’t have a way to remove these fibers, they can remain there indefinitely.

Trapped asbestos fibers can trigger mutations in the surrounding cells. This can cause mesothelioma tumors to form, which can then spread throughout the body without treatment.

If you used talc-based baby powder, get our Free Mesothelioma Guide shipped overnight to learn more about asbestos and mesothelioma — including signs of the cancer, what to watch for, and when to see a doctor.

Mesothelioma Guide Images
Get Your Free 2024 Mesothelioma Guide
  • Symptoms & staging
  • Average prognosis
  • Life-extending treatments

Get Your Free Guide

Who Was Exposed to Baby Powder With Asbestos?

Over the years, asbestos-contaminated baby powder has placed millions of Americans at risk for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.

Those who may have been exposed to asbestos in baby powder include:

  • Adults who used baby powder as part of their personal hygiene routine
  • Miners who handled raw talc on a daily basis
  • Parents and other caregivers who used baby powder on children
  • People exposed to talcum powder as children
  • Workers involved in the manufacture of baby powder

Today, asbestos is heavily regulated within the United States, but it has not been entirely banned. Despite the known dangers of asbestos, people continue to be put at risk. In 2021, nearly 500,000 tons of talc were mined in three states: Montana, Texas, and Vermont.

People who mined talc or worked at facilities where talc was processed for consumer products like baby powder are at especially high risk of asbestos exposure — even more so if they weren’t given the proper safety gear or regulations to protect themselves.

Even using a small amount of powder could cause talc to be dispersed into the air. If the talc was contaminated with asbestos, those nearby could inhale or swallow tiny asbestos fibers and get sick years later.

Many talc product manufacturers and sellers are facing talcum powder lawsuits for their role in putting Americans at risk. Johnson & Johnson is the most well-known manufacturer that has been sued for its dangerous products.

Safety Concerns Around Asbestos in Johnson’s Baby Powder®

Recently, a series of lawsuits and reports have connected the talc in Johnson & Johnson baby powder to asbestos. The pharmaceutical giant sold Johnson’s Baby Powder® for decades and was the world’s most famous supplier of talc-based baby powder.

A Reuters investigative report revealed that Johnson & Johnson repeatedly found asbestos in its baby powder over the course of 50 years, but hid the facts to keep its profits up.

According to the Reuters report:

  1. In 1957, trace amounts of asbestos fibers were found in samples of talc from Johnson & Johnson’s Italian supplier.
  2. In the mid-1960s, talc from Vermont mines owned by a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary was also found to contain traces of asbestos. Sample tests continued to find small amounts of talc through the 1970s.
  3. Instead of reporting all findings, Johnson & Johnson only submitted select studies to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the mid-1970s. The company emphasized studies that fit its agenda and claimed that its talc products contained no asbestos.
  4. The company used its influence to craft its own studies in the mid-1970s — in which it told researchers what results it wanted.
  5. The company also tried to influence government studies by having its subsidiaries act as advisers.
  6. Studies continued to find trace amounts of asbestos in the company’s baby powder through the early 2000s, when the company started sourcing its talc from China.

The company disputes the claims in the Reuters investigative report — even though all of the information came from officially released documents from the company.

Does Johnson and Johnson Baby Powder Cause Cancer?

Many recent lawsuits have alleged that Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder may cause cancer due to asbestos contamination. Asbestos is a known carcinogen (cancer-causing substance), so any products that contain it — including talc-based baby powder — might pose a threat to human health.

A doctor reviews a chest X-ray with a patient

Not everyone who uses talc-based products will be exposed to asbestos, and not everyone exposed to asbestos will develop cancer from it. However, it’s crucial to remain informed and take necessary precautions.

Learn more about where asbestos has been used in consumer products with our Free Asbestos Product Guide. This download can help you navigate the risks of asbestos products in your life or home.

Free Guide
Download Your Asbestos GuideFree Asbestos Products Guide
  • Asbestos safety info
  • Products containing asbestos
  • Common exposure risks

Get Your Free Guide

2024 Update: Asbestos in Johnson & Johnson Powder and Cancer

Despite the many victims who developed cancer after using the company’s talc-based powder for years, Johnson & Johnson continues to deny that its products cause any harm.

However, Johnson & Johnson discontinued its talc-based baby powder in 2023 and has transitioned to an all cornstarch-based baby powder portfolio.

The corporation made this decision after a flurry of lawsuits shone a spotlight on the link between asbestos in talc-based products and different types of cancer. The concerned public stopped buying Johnson’s Baby Powder in response.

Lawsuits Against Johnson & Johnson

In January 2024, Johnson & Johnson tentatively agreed to pay $700 million to settle an investigation into the marketing of its talcum-based baby powder. The investigation was brought by more than 40 U.S. states. This settlement is separate from the tens of thousands of personal injury lawsuits filed against the company.

In April 2023, the company said it would pay $8.9 billion to settle numerous lawsuits alleging that its baby powder and talc products caused cancer. As of February 2024, the proposed settlement has not yet been approved.

To date, Johnson & Johnson has paid out billions of dollars in baby powder lawsuit settlements and jury verdicts. However, the consumer product giant has filed appeals in many cases in which juries have awarded plaintiffs millions and even billions of dollars.

The plaintiffs in some of the lawsuits allege that they developed mesothelioma after years of using Johnson’s Baby Powder on their children and sometimes themselves. Thousands of women said they had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer after long-term use of the company’s baby powder and other talc-based body powders such as Shower to Shower.

If you or someone you love is now sick and used baby powder, we may be able to help. Get a Free Legal Consultation with our knowledgeable team to see if you are eligible to file a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson or other talc manufacturers.

Couple during a legal consultation
Get a Free Legal Consultation
  • Over $30 billion available
  • No cost to file a claim
  • Avoid going to court

Get a Free Consultation

Get Help for Baby Powder Asbestos Exposure

It’s an unfortunate reality that something as innocent as baby powder or other personal care products could contain a cancer-causing substance like asbestos. But if you or someone you love was harmed by exposure to asbestos in baby powder or another talc product, know that help is available.

Our Patient Advocates will listen to your story and help you determine your options for financial, medical, and legal support.

Call our team at (866) 608-8933 or fill out our contact form to get in touch with us today.

Asbestos in Baby Powder FAQs

Does baby powder cause cancer?

Possibly. Studies have shown a link between asbestos-contaminated talc baby powders and certain types of cancers, including mesothelioma.

Parents who used talc-containing baby powder on their children, as well as women who used it as part of their daily hygiene routine, are especially at risk.

However, not all talc contains asbestos. Asbestos is a known carcinogen, while pure talc may be safe to use.

Is it safe to use Johnson baby powder?

As of 2023, Johnson’s Baby Powder is now made with cornstarch instead of talc, which is not known to contain asbestos.

However, Johnson and Johnson sold talc-based baby powder for decades — and throughout this time, the powder may have contained asbestos fibers. Anyone exposed to asbestos could develop mesothelioma or other cancers 10-50 years later.

Does baby powder have asbestos in it?

Yes, baby powder may have had asbestos in it. Baby powder was often made from a soft mineral called talc that is mined and then processed into a powder. Talc deposits are often found near asbestos, another mineral.

When raw talc is contaminated with asbestos, baby powder made from talc can contain asbestos fibers.

When was asbestos banned in baby powder?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not review or approve cosmetic products, including baby powder, so it has not issued a ban on asbestos in baby powder.

However, the agency requires companies to ensure their products are safe for use — and asbestos in baby powder poses a life-threatening risk.

An investigation by the news outlet Reuters indicated that pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson knew as early as the 1950s that its talc-based baby powder was contaminated with asbestos.

Did Johnson and Johnson recall baby powder over asbestos worry?

In 2019, Johnson & Johnson issued a voluntary recall of 33,000 Johnson’s Baby Powder bottles after the FDA found chrysotile asbestos fibers in a sample. The company denied finding asbestos samples in its own tests.

Further, after facing years of public outcry and lawsuits claiming there was asbestos in baby powder, Johnson & Johnson agreed to discontinue its talc-based powders in 2023.

As of 2024, Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder products are currently made with cornstarch instead of talc.

Is Johnson baby powder safe for adults?

Baby powder containing talc may be contaminated with asbestos, which is a known carcinogen. Exposure to asbestos — even in small amounts — can cause anyone to develop mesothelioma and other deadly cancers, regardless of their age.

In 2023, a 24-year-old California man was awarded $18.8 million after developing cancer from exposure to baby powder. This is one of many examples of lawsuits connecting Johnson & Johnson powder and cancer — further showing its dangers to adults and children alike.

How do you know if baby powder has asbestos in it?

It’s impossible to tell if baby powder is asbestos-free by looking at it with the naked eye. Some companies can test baby powder in a lab to see if it’s contaminated with asbestos fibers.

While baby powder made from talc may contain asbestos, powder made from cornstarch does not.

Jenna TozziWritten by:

Director of Patient Advocacy

Jenna Tozzi, RN, is the Director of Patient Advocacy at Mesothelioma Hope. With more than 15 years of experience as an adult and pediatric oncology nurse navigator, Jenna provides exceptional guidance and support to mesothelioma patients and their loved ones. Jenna has been featured in Oncology Nursing News and is a member of the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators & the American Nurses Association.

Our Promise to You
Our Promise to You
  1. American Cancer Society. (n.d.). Talcum Powder and Cancer. Retrieved February 23, 2024, from
  2. Blumenthal, D. (1985, May 19). Babying Grown-Ups. Retrieved February 23, 2024, from
  3. Lovelace Jr., B. (2020, May 19). Johnson & Johnson discontinues talc-based baby powder in US and Canada. Retrieved February 23, 2024, from
  4. Reuters. (2018, April 16). J&J Baby Powder litigation takes new focus with asbestos claims. Retrieved February 23, 2024, from
  5. Reuters. (2018, May 14). J&J defends itself in trial over baby powder asbestos claims. Retrieved February 23, 2024, from
  6. Reuters. (2022, August 12). J&J to end global sales of talc-based baby powder. Retrieved February 13, 2024, from
  7. Reuters. (2023, June 27). J&J’s $8.9 billion talc settlement faces US bankruptcy test. Retrieved February 13, 2024, from 
  8. The New York Times. (2022, August 11). Johnson & Johnson Will Discontinue Talc-Based Baby Powder Globally in 2023. Retrieved February 23, 2024, from
  9. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2019, October 18). Baby powder manufacturer voluntarily recalls products for asbestos. Retrieved February 23, 2024, from
  10. U.S. Geological Survey, Mineral Commodity Summaries. (2022, January.) Talc and Pyrophyllite. Retrieved February 23, 2024, from
  11. Wall Street Journal. (2024, January). J&J Can’t Promise Wall Street No More Tears. Retrieved February 23, 2024 from
Free 30-Minute ConversationWith Jenna Tozzi, RN
Fill Out Your Contact Information
How We Can Help

Mesothelioma Hope is passionate about helping patients and families affected by this aggressive cancer. A mesothelioma diagnosis can be scary and isolating, but we’re here for you at every step. Hope is only a phone call away.

(866) 608-8933
Medical Guidance
  • Get a second opinion
  • Find a doctor or cancer center
  • Access clinical trials
  • Improve your quality of life
Financial Assistance
  • Access $30 billion in trust funds
  • File a mesothelioma claim
  • Increase your VA benefits
  • Apply for travel grants
Supportive Care
  • Find a support group or peer mentor
  • Get help with daily tasks
  • Explore respite care options
  • Navigate life post-treatment