Originating as a starch, soap, and perfume enterprise in 19th-century New York, Colgate-Palmolive has evolved into a major provider of consumer goods, serving millions worldwide. 

Included in its initial products is its Cashmere Boutique branded soap. They eventually went on to make Cashmere Bouquet Body Powder, along with many other talcum powder products, perfumes, and toothpaste.  

Since the 1970s, it has been known that small particles of asbestos, a carcinogenic mineral, can easily hide within talc, the main ingredient in talcum powder. These trace amounts of asbestos have been known to cause mesothelioma and other cancers after decades of use.

Major skincare and cosmetic producers were made aware of this correlation at that time; the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrances Association (CTFA) issued voluntary guidelines for asbestos and talcum powder use in 1976 to all companies.

That same year, Cashmere Bouquet Body Powder was tested for asbestos. Dr. Arthur Rohl revealed it contained 8-20% asbestos fibers. Dr. Rohl said to the New York Times, “Asbestos fibers can cause mesothelioma, a chest and abdominal cancer, and can also result in the scarring of lung tissue and gastro‐intestinal difficulties,” Unfortunately, concerns over asbestos-containing talcum powder in their Cashmere Bouquet Body Powder have continued. Cashmere Boutique and Colgate-Palmolive have been under scrutiny, facing multiple lawsuits for producing asbestos-containing talcum powder for their consumers. 

Avon Asbestos & Talc Lawsuits

In recent years, Colgate Palmolive’s Cashmere Bouquet has been embroiled in various lawsuits concerning asbestos-containing talc in its products. Notable cases include:

  • In 2015, Judith Winkel was awarded $13 million by a California jury for her mesothelioma claim associated with Cashmere Bouquet. This ruling stood as the first verdict against Colgate-Palmolive regarding asbestos exposure from their commercial talcum powder. Later, the company and Winkel reached a confidential settlement.
  • In 2017, Colgate-Palmolive reached a confidential settlement in another mesothelioma case linked to the usage of their talcum powder.
  • In 2017 a case was brought forward by a Pennsylvania woman who had used their talcum powder for over 20 years, which she believes led to her mesothelioma diagnosis. Colgate-Palmolive agreed to settle.
  • In 2018, a settlement between Colgate-Palmolive and Paul Garcia was reached. The 67-year-old man claimed Colgate-Palmolive and their predecessor, Mennen, failed to adequately warn consumers that its powder contains asbestos and could cause cancer. Colgate-Palmolive denied the claims but agreed to a settlement.

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The History of Cashmere Bouquet & Asbestos

For generations, talcum powder has been a staple in American households. Found in skincare and beauty products, it is often an ingredient in baby powders, body powders, foundation, and lotions, among others. Talcum powder provides a silky, light texture in these products, including in Cashmere Bouquet’s body powder. 

Despite its success, Cashmere Bouquet and Colgate-Palmolive have been embroiled in controversy in recent decades due to allegations of asbestos contamination in its talcum powder products. Asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral known for its heat resistance and insulating properties, has been linked to serious health risks, including lung cancer and mesothelioma when inhaled or ingested.

Colgate-Palmolive manufactured Cashmere Bouquet from 1871 to 1985. Despite decades passing since its production, new mesothelioma cases are still being diagnosed due to the asbestos-containing talc powder from Cashmere Bouquet. The mesothelioma latency period before experiencing symptoms can be 20-40 years. 

If you have been exposed to Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder and later diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be entitled to compensation.  

Symptoms of Mesothelioma Caused by Asbestos-Containing Talc

Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer that affects the thin layer of tissue covering the internal organs, known as the mesothelium. Exposure to asbestos fibers, commonly found in talcum powder products, is a leading cause of mesothelioma. When asbestos-containing talcum powder is inhaled or ingested, the microscopic fibers can become lodged in the mesothelium, triggering cellular changes that may lead to the development of mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma symptoms may include:

  • Persistent dry cough
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Chest or abdominal pain
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Lumps or swelling in the abdomen
  • Pleural effusion (buildup of fluid around the lungs)
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Fever and sweating
  • Hoarseness or wheezing

Cashmere Bouquet – Asbestos Investigations and News

April 2024, an appellate court affirmed the finding of liability against talc defendants, including Colgate Palmolive’s Cashmere Bouquet.

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Written and legally reviewed by Samuel Meirowitz

Attorney and On-Site Legal Advocate

Samuel Meirowitz is a member of the “Top 100 Trial Lawyers.” Mr. Meirowitz was named a “Rising Star” in 2013 & 2014 by Super Lawyers and then a Super Lawyer every year since 2016. In 2013, Mr. Meirowitz obtained what is believed to be the first multi-million-dollar asbestos verdict seen in more than two decades in a New York federal court. In that highly contentious matter, Mr. Meirowitz was able to convince the jury to hold a boiler manufacturer responsible for 60 percent of the $3.8 million awarded, despite the defendant’s attempt to escape all blame by pointing fingers at the plaintiff’s employer and the U.S. Navy (in which the plaintiff admirably served from 1966-70 during the Vietnam conflict). This verdict was upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

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