Project Overview: Cardno ChemRisk scientists performed a quantitative risk assessment to evaluate potential cumulative asbestos exposures associated with various consumer uses of cosmetic talcum powder products. This human health risk assessment served as an update to the quantitative risk assessment of cosmetic talc performed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the mid-1980s.

Our Approach: Our team incorporated the current literature describing potential consumer exposures to cosmetic talcum powder products and used the most up-to-date regulatory risk assessment methodology for asbestos to evaluate health risk under four consumer use scenarios: (1) infant exposure during diapering, (2) adult exposure from infant diapering, (3) adult exposure from face powdering, and (4) adult exposure from body powdering. Cardno ChemRisk scientists demonstrated that even assuming a hypothetical trace asbestos content in cosmetic talcum powder products as a “worst-case” scenario, potential cumulative asbestos exposures and associated health risk at these levels were well below cumulative exposures and risk at ambient levels of asbestos, which have not been associated with an increased incidence of asbestos-related disease.

Our Value: The findings from our updated human health risk assessment of cosmetic talc were consistent with the FDA’s original findings, and indicate that many typical consumer use scenarios of cosmetic talc are unlikely to pose a cumulative asbestos exposure risk using conservative regulatory approaches to risk assessment.