What is Talc?
It is a naturally occurring mineral, mined from the earth – magnesium silicate (Mg3Si4O10(OH)2).
Talc is widely used in cosmetics as it has many functions such as an absorbent, anticaking agent, bulking agent, opacifying agent etc. It can be found in blush, eye shadows, foundations, face powder and most commonly baby powder.
So, what is the concern regarding Talc?
Talc is found in close proximity in the earth with asbestos. Yes, asbestos is a known carcinogen (cancer causing)! The concern with Talc is that it is likely that it can be contaminated with asbestos. When used it can be really dangerous and health concerning. In cosmetic products they use cosmetic-grade talc raw material meaning they are tested and confirmed to be free of asbestos. There is a list found in the FDA site listing which cosmetic products (in US) contain cosmetic-grade talc and the suppliers of talc (cosmetic-grade).
Talcum powder aka Baby powder
There was a case not long ago (around May 2017) where Johnson & Johnson was sued by a woman who was diagnosed with cancer after using their baby powder . This was just one of the many cases regarding this matter.
The use of baby powder had been extensively studied by many people when it first hit the markets. Many of the research articles have inconclusive evidence regarding this topic.
“Further research is needed to determine whether and how talcum powder might increase the risk of ovarian cancer” – Australian Cancer Council
“Perineal use of talc-based body powder is possible carcinogenic to humans” – International Agency for Research on Cancer
“Inhaled talc not containing asbestos or asbestiform fibres is not classifiable as to its
carcinogenicity (Group 3).” – International Agency for Research on Cancer
“Until more information is available, people concerned about using talcum powder may want to avoid or limit their use of consumer products that contain it.” – American Cancer Society
“We continue to use talc in our products because decades of science have reaffirmed its safety. Because of its safety and effectiveness, we confidently include pharmaceutical grade talc in our products.” – Johnson & Johnson
“In summary, these data collectively do not indicate that cosmetic talc causes ovarian cancer.” – European Journal of Cancer Prevention
Note: I am only delivering the facts, I am neither for or against using talc or talc containing products.
Hope this review helps!