Cashmere-Bouquet Talcum Powder Lawsuit Filed Over Cancer From Asbestos Exposure

A recently filed mesothelioma lawsuit alleges that a woman developed the fatal form of lung cancer after exposure to asbestos fibers released by Cashmere-Bouquet talcum powder, which she used for decades as a general body powder on herself, her daughter and her clothing. 

The complaint (PDF) was filed by Hazel Reibel on June 22, 2015 in California Superior Court in Sacramento against Colgate-Palmolive, Georgia Pacific and numerous other defendants. According to the lawsuit, Reibel has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, a lung disease that is generally only associated with asbestos exposure.

In addition to second-hand exposure to asbestos allegedly caused by doing laundry and handling cloths of those who worked directly with the toxic substance, Reibel indicates that she was exposed to asbestos contained in Cashmere-Bouquet talcum powder, which she used for feminine hygiene purposes from the 1940s to the 1980s.

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Mesothelioma Lawsuits

Exposure to asbestos can cause the development of mesothelioma. Lawsuits have been filed nationwide against asbestos manufacturers.

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“Each time she used Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder, it released dust into the air that she could see, smell and/or taste,” the lawsuit states. “Unbeknownst to her, the talc used to manufacture Cashmere Bouquet contained asbestos, which she breathed in. Additionally, Ms. Reibel was exposed to asbestos and asbestos-containing products through the 1980s by virtue of her own work and work of others around her with automotive products and construction products.”

While most uses of asbestos have been banned for more than 30 years, given the long latency period between exposure to the substance and the development of mesothelioma, asbestos exposure continues to cause up to 15,000 deaths each year.

In addition to industrial exposures, a number of studies have suggested that asbestos contained in many talcum powder products may cause the development of mesothelioma and other ailments generally associated with asbestos.

In October 2014, a study published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health identified a potential link between an unnamed, but popular, brand of talcum powder and asbestos exposure, suggesting that use of the product may have caused the death of at least one unidentified woman due to mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is typically associated with exposure to asbestos. Given the long latency period between exposure to asbestos and diagnosis of mesothelioma, most individuals do not discover that they have the disease until decades after last exposure. In addition, the cancer is usually at a very advanced stage when a diagnosis is made, resulting in a very short life-expectancy with mesothelioma.

Concerns about the link between mesothelioma and talcum powder stretch back decades, with local health officials in Baltimore requesting that the FDA investigate asbestos in talc powder as far back as 1972.

In April, Colgate-Palmolive was ordered to pay $1.4 million to a woman diagnosed with mesothelioma after exposure to Cashmere Bouquet talc powder.

The latest complaint accuses Colgate-Palmolive Company, and a number of other defendants, of negligence, breach of warranty, and strict liability.

The claim comes amid increasing concerns about the potential cancer risks with talcum powder, as a number of lawsuits have also suggested that women may develop ovarian cancer following long-term use of the body powder for feminine hygiene purposes.


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