Talcum powder or talc is a popular ingredient in baby powder and powder products. Although talc has been used for decades, it is only now that concerns over its safety started gaining traction in the mainstream media.
This, following a case involving Johnson & Johnson and a complainant who allegedly developed cancer after using the latter's product for years. Johnson & Johnson may have scored a win but the case forever cast doubts over talc's safety.
While most health experts say talc is perfectly safe to use, is it really? This report delves deep into the issue, warning readers to never use talc-based products.
What Is the Use of Baby Powder?
Baby powder is commonly used to absorb moisture and cut down on friction. When applied to the skin, it can help prevent rashes and other skin irritations like chafing. Many women apply baby powder to their perineum, underwear or pads to keep the area fresh and dry.
Talcum powder is also commonly added to makeup products like foundation and cosmetic powder in order to prevent caking and ensure a smooth appearance. And parents commonly apply it to their infants and young children to prevent bacterial overgrowth, yeast and diaper rash.
Baby powder is a product name for talcum powder, which is made from talc, a clay mineral containing magnesium, silicon and oxygen. Talc is mined in proximity to asbestos, another naturally occurring mineral known to have carcinogenic effects. According to information posted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “to prevent contamination of talc with asbestos, it is essential to select talc mining sites carefully and take steps to purify the ore sufficiently.” (2)
Although the FDA considers it unacceptable for cosmetic talc to be contaminated with asbestos, there’s no federal mandate to test and approve cosmetic products and ingredients before they land on stores shelves. In an effort to address the safety concerns of talc in powders and cosmetic products, the FDA conducted a survey in 2009 and 2010.
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