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Study confirms link between cosmetic products and mesothelioma

Wearing makeup and using other cosmetic products is quite common in South Carolina. Unfortunately, just because something is common does not mean it is safe. For example, asbestos contamination is shockingly common in the cosmetics industry. A recent study established a definite link between the deadly cancer mesothelioma and asbestos found in many cosmetic products.

The study was recently published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and focused on 33 patients suffering from mesothelioma. The patients were referred to the study because it was believed that they had all developed cancer from the same source -- cosmetic talcum powder. None of the participants had histories of asbestos exposure at work, either.

FDA pushes for more testing amid asbestos exposure concern

Current asbestos testing standards for industries that use talc are fairly loose. As recent reports have shown that many products contain this toxic substance, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is pushing for new testing standards. If implemented, it could possibly lower the risk of asbestos exposure for people in South Carolina and across the country.

The FDA allowed the cosmetics talc industry to basically self-police when it comes to asbestos and testing. The last time the FDA held a hearing focusing on asbestos and testing methods in cosmetics was in 1971, meaning the industry has been handling these issues on its own for several decades. The FDA did not test any cosmetic products from then until 2018, when it discovered that many popular cosmetic products were contaminated with asbestos.

Is diagnosing mesothelioma difficult?

If you’ve worked in a job that exposed you to asbestos, you may already know the risk for mesothelioma. But when the disease takes years to show up, how do doctors know whether or not you have it?

Mesothelioma is a rare disease. And many different illnesses have similar symptoms. To diagnose patients, doctors must perform multiple tests to confirm mesothelioma in the lungs.

How can I find clinical trials for mesothelioma?

If you have mesothelioma from asbestos exposure, you know that only limited treatment exists. However, science is always searching for new ways to treat or cure the disease. If you have exhausted your options for treatment, a clinical trial can test out a new way to fight your mesothelioma.

Your doctor may be aware of current trials and can recommend you for one. But if you would like to research clinical trials recruiting for participants, you can find information from a database provided by the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Asbestos litigation: Johnson & Johnson faces another lawsuit

South Carolina consumers should feel confident that they are making safe purchases, but this is unfortunately more difficult than it seems. Companies are frequently more concerned with their own bottom lines than they are with the health and safety of their customers. Concerned over citizens' safety, one state is engaging in asbestos litigation against Valeant Pharmaceuticals and Johnson & Johnson.

The attorney general for this Southwestern state filed a lawsuit against these two companies, citing their alleged knowledge of toxic substances in some of their consumer goods. That suit accuses both of these companies of aggressively marketing their products to minority groups -- specifically African-American and Hispanic residents -- despite having known for decades that their talc products were contaminated with asbestos. These two groups make up about 50% of the state's population.

Construction workers learn of asbestos exposure months later

There is a very good reason that asbestos abatement is tightly regulated in South Carolina. When mishandled, asbestos fibers are released into the air. Those airborne fibers are easily inhaled. For those who do not quite understand just how serious this is, it is important to know that asbestos exposure can lead to a number of different cancers, including the incurable cancer mesothelioma.

Asbestos was recently discovered at a construction site where a building had been demolished earlier in 2019. Construction workers were apparently not instructed to take any safety precautions for asbestos at the time of demolition. However, workers later discovered what they thought was likely asbestos inside another building at the same site.

Miners, construction workers at higher risk for mesothelioma

Asbestos has not disappeared from South Carolina. Whether from old buildings and products or in new uses, asbestos can still be found in many -- all over and even in the workplace. Almost anyone could be at risk for exposure, but there are some who face an even greater risk than others. Here are some of the industries in which workers are most likely to develop mesothelioma.

Chrysotile asbestos has not been mined in the United States since 2002. However, many of these mines remained open for many years, with the last one not closing until 2019. Miners who worked in these environments were routinely exposed to small particles of asbestos. This might be at least part of the reason why miners are some of the workers most likely to develop mesothelioma.

Renovations caused asbestos exposure for residents, workers

Having a safe place to live is important for the health and safety of all South Carolina residents. No one really wants to face ongoing health threats at home. Unseen dangers can be anywhere, though. For some people, a particularly troublesome unseen danger is asbestos exposure, which can cause life-threatening illnesses.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently cited a property management company for seriously mishandling asbestos during apartment renovations. According to OSHA, asbestos was frequently disturbed and released into the air at this out-of-state apartment complex. However, these violations are all related to employee safety and improper containment, as the men and women working at the complex were not told about the presence of asbestos or given any protective gear. The citations do not refer to the apartment residents, who were also unknowingly exposed.

You have probably been affected by asbestos exposure

There are many valid concerns about being exposed to the toxic substance known as asbestos. Since asbestos exposure is known to cause mesothelioma and other fatal diseases, most people want to avoid it at all costs. However, many people in South Carolina have been exposed to asbestos on at least one occasion.

Limited exposure to asbestos usually is not a cause for concern. Only a small percentage of people who encounter asbestos only once or twice will become sick as a result. Any risk of mesothelioma or other related diseases is a cause for concern.

Demolition site cited for second asbestos exposure violation

People in South Carolina might associate large implosions and wrecking balls with building demolitions. These are not the only options, especially when it comes to buildings that contain asbestos. Demolition may take place over much longer periods of time, such as an out-of-state project that has been going on for at least two years. Unfortunately, it is possible that asbestos exposure to workers and the surrounding area has taken place several times during this time.

Before the most recent violation, the company in charge of the demolition had already been cited for an asbestos abatement violation at the beginning of 2019. The first violation was for the improper removal of metal siding that contained asbestos, although it does not appear as if the business was fined. Instead, it was strongly encouraged to address the violations and then provide a written response by no later than Dec. 16. 

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