29 Jun

Talc – Is Talc As Safe As You Thought?

Here is another product and ingredient that I had presumed would be one of the safest in the world. After all, talcum powder or talc is used as BABY powder, so it MUST be safe. But, here is a shocking video:

Talc Rock

Talc Rock

Talcum powder is produced from magnesium trisilicate, which in its natural form contains asbestos, a known carcinogen. Thus there is fear that using talcum powder can cause cancer. However, since 1973, talcum powders are required by law to be asbestos-free.

Talc is a mineral, produced by the mining of talc rocks and then processed by crushing, drying and milling. Processing eliminates a number of trace minerals from the talc, but does not separate minute fibres which are very similar to asbestos. Talc poses a health risk when exposed to the lungs. Talc miners have shown higher rates of lung cancer and other respiratory illnesses from exposure to industrial grade talc, which contains dangerous silica and asbestos.

Talc Bottles

Talc Bottles

Although Talc has been asbestos-free since 1973, Talc has a similar molecular structure to the potent carcinogen, asbestos. Talc particles have been shown to cause tumours in the ovaries and lungs of cancer victims. For the last 30 years, scientists have closely scrutinised talc particles and found dangerous similarities to asbestos. Responding to this evidence in 1973, the FDA drafted a resolution that would limit the amount of asbestos-like fibres in cosmetic grade talc. However, no ruling has ever been made and today, cosmetic grade talc remains non-regulated by the federal governments of any country. (Not surprisingly, the Talcum Powder Industry is a very powerful lobbyist!) This inaction ignores a 1993 National Toxicology Program report which found that cosmetic grade talc, without any asbestos-like fibres, caused tumors in animal subjects. Clearly with or without asbestos-like fibres, cosmetic grade talcum powder is a carcinogen.

Talc GenitalsIt has been suggested that talcum powder might cause cancer in the ovaries if the powder particles (applied to the genital area directly, or on sanitary napkins, diaphragms and condoms) were to travel through the vagina, uterus, and fallopian tubes to the ovary. Several studies in women have looked at the possible link between asbestos-free talcum powder and cancer of the ovary. A meta-analysis of 16 studies and 11,933 participants found an increase in ovarian cancer amongst talc users. For example, this analysis published before 2003 found about a 30% increase in ovarian risk among talc users.  In fact, my wife’s sister, who was a talc user, contracted ovarian cancer and died at the young age of only 37.

Talc is found in a wide variety of consumer products ranging from home and garden pesticides to antacids. However, the products most widely used and that pose the most serious health risks are body powders.

Talc is the main ingredient in baby powder, medicated powders, perfumed powders and designer perfumed body powders. Because talc is resistant to moisture, it is also used by the pharmaceutical industry to manufacture medications and is a listed ingredient of some antacids.

Talc is the principal ingredient home and garden pesticides and flea and tick powders. Talc is used in smaller quantities in deodorants, chalk, crayons, textiles, soap, insulating materials, paints, asphalt filler, paper, and in food processing.

Talc is toxic. Talc particles cause tumours in human ovaries and lungs. Numerous studies have shown a strong link between frequent use of talc in the female genital area and ovarian cancer. Talc particles are able to move through the reproductive system and become embedded in the lining of the ovary.

Researchers have found talc particles in ovarian tumours and have found that women with ovarian cancer have used talcum powder in their genital area more frequently than healthy women.

Talc Baby

Talc is promoted for baby use

The common household hazard posed by talc is inhalation of baby powder by infants. Since the early 1980s, records show that several thousand infants each year have died or become seriously ill following accidental inhalation of baby powder.

Talc is used on babies because it absorbs unpleasant moisture. Clearly, dusting with talcum powder endangers an infant’s lungs at the possibility of inhalation. Exposing children to this carcinogen is unnecessary and dangerous.

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References: American Cancer Society, The Cancer Council of Western Australia, The Cancer Prevention Coalition.


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