12 February 2012

Talcum Powder

Dear reader, 
Lets talk about a very innocent looking product used worldwide …The Talcum Powder…

Talcum or Face or Body powders contains Talc, Chalk, zinc oxide, zinc stearate and a suitable perfumes. Often specific ingredients like antiseptic and cooling agents are added. The role of the talc is to act as a powder base and to make skin smooth. Chalk absorbs secretion (perspiration) without showing any evidence of such absorption. Zinc oxide masks enlarged pores and minor blemishes, whereas zinc stearate makes powder adhere to skin. Baby talcum powders contain considerable amounts of zinc stearate for adhesiveness and boric acid, for antiseptic purposes.

Talc is a major raw material in Talcum Powder. It is a mineral consists of hydrated magnesium silicate with the chemical formula Mg3Si4O10(OH)2. It is produced by crushing the talc rock mineral and processed further to remove traces of other minerals, but it can not separate micro fibers which are similar to asbestos.

Talc is the most deleterious ingredient in Talcum Powder. Inhalation of talc by babies might lead to chocking and asphyxiation. It's a potent carcinogen and causes inflammation to lungs. It causes cancers if applied heavily on armpits and genital areas. In females it can also cause ovarian cancer, if there's slow deposition of talc particles.

Talc is found in a wide variety of consumer products ranging from cosmetics, domestic and garden pesticides to antacids. However, the products most widely used and that pose the most serious health risks are the 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 in 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 very much related to the potent carcinogen asbestos. Talc particles have been shown to cause tumors in the ovaries and lungs of cancer victims. For the last 30 years, scientists have closely scrutinized talc particles and found dangerous similarities to asbestos. In 1993 US National Toxicology Program report which found that cosmetic grade talc, without any asbestos-like fibers, caused tumors in animal subjects. Clearly with or without asbestos-like fibers, cosmetic grade Talcum Powder is a carcinogen.

Talc is a toxic substance. Talc particles cause tumors 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 imbedded in the lining of the ovary. Researchers have found talc particles in ovarian tumors and have found that women with ovarian cancer have used talcum powder in their genital area more frequently than healthy women.
Talc poses a health risk when exposed to the lungs. The common household hazard posed by talc is inhalation of baby powder by infants. 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 prospect of inhalation. Exposing children to this carcinogen is unnecessary and dangerous.
  • The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies talc that contains asbestos as "carcinogenic to humans".
  • Based on the lack of data from human studies and on limited data in lab animal studies, IARC classifies talc not containing asbestos as "not classifiable as to carcinogenicity in humans".
  • Based on limited evidence from human studies, IARC classifies the perineal (genital) use of talc-based body powder as "possibly carcinogenic to humans".

Baby powders are comparatively mild. It is an astringent powder and contains either talc or cornstarch. It's a rare condition that baby powder contains talc. Baby powder is gentle as it is made up of pure cornstarch with some amount of zinc oxide or sodium bicarbonate. It also contains soothing natural ingredients like, chamomile, marshmallow and calendula extracts. It also contains kaolin, bentonite, rose extract and myrrh and slippery elm extract. Arrowroot powder, tapioca starch, oat starch, aloe vera, rose clay, lavender oil and vitamin E are also found in baby powders. All these ingredients make baby powders safe for use.

When we consider the pros and cons of talcum powder vs baby powder, then it's obvious that baby powder is much safe to use. Baby powder is not only safe on babies but also on adults. Talcum powder has many disadvantages that can pose health risks.
Thus, when we compare talcum powder vs baby powder, the later is always a safer option. Never use talcum powder on your baby's skin. Use homemade baby powders or a good brand baby powder, containing natural ingredients. You can also use medicated powders formulated for yourself and your baby. To have a smooth, supple and healthy skin, it's always suggested to replace talcum powder with baby powder.

·        Women who use talcum powder every day to keep fresh are 40 per cent more likely to develop ovarian cancer, according to research.
·        Scientists fear powder particles applied to the private parts may travel to the ovaries and trigger a process of inflammation that allows cancer cells to flourish.
·        Although previous studies have raised concerns over talc, the latest findings from the U.S. suggest that the risks are much greater than first thought.
·        Now the researchers have urged all women to stop using talc immediately.
·        Experts from Harvard Medical School in Boston studied more than 3,000 women.  They discovered using talc just once a week raised the risk of cancer by 36 per cent, rising to 41 per cent for those applying powder every day.
·        The study also revealed that the risks were greater still for those with a certain genetic profile.
·        Laboratory tests show ovarian cells exposed to talc divide more rapidly  -  a characteristic sign of cancer.
·        But until recently there was no proof that powder could travel through a woman's reproductive tract as far as the pelvis and then on to the ovaries. However, last year, a separate group of doctors at Harvard Medical School identified tiny particles of powder in the pelvis of a 68-year-old woman with advanced ovarian cancer who had used talc every day for 30 years.
·        More than 6,000 women a year in the UK who uses talcum powder are diagnosed with cancer of the ovaries.

So what do you think ? Stop using Talcum Powder ? Switch over to Corn Starch Powder ? Or wait for more cancers….

”How many deaths will it take till we know…that too many people have died.......

Yes…Lets Learn to Live Green…Say No to Chemicals….


  1. Not being from a first world country I cannot say if talc is banned in baby products but I can say that in other countries companies like Walmart distribute baby talc (with no other options) and companies like Johnson and Johnson manufacture it "Baby Talco".

  2. It was wondering if I could use this write-up on my other website, I will link it back to your website though. Great Thanks.
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