Inhalation exposure to cosmetic talc has generated much scientific debate regarding its potential as a risk factor for mesothelioma, a rare, but fatal cancer. Barbers, hairdressers, and cosmetologists have regularly used cosmetic talc-containing products, but the collective epidemiological evidence for mesothelioma in these occupations has yet to be described. As such, we conducted a systematic review of PubMed and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s (NIOSH) Numbered Publications list to identify original epidemiological literature reporting measures of association between these occupations and incidence of or death from mesothelioma. Literature screening was performed independently twice, the results of which were summarized and tabulated and underwent a review for their accuracy. A total of 12 studies met our inclusion criteria, including three cohort, six case–control, and three proportionate mortality/registration studies. The data from these studies were collected in 13 European and North American countries, spanning more than 50 years. We supplemented this review with queries of occupational mortality databases that are managed by the Washington State Department of Health and NIOSH for 26 U.S. states. Most findings were null and if statistically significant, nearly all showed an inverse relationship, indicative of a protective effect of these occupations on mesothelioma risk. Overall, the epidemiological evidence does not support an increased risk of mesothelioma for these occupations. This research fills an important data gap on the etiology of mesothelioma in barbers, hairdressers, and cosmetologists, and provides a benchmark for those with comparatively less exposure, such as non-occupational users of similar cosmetic talc-containing products.[View article at original source]
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