Posted on March 13, 2008 by
Baby products always seem benign, don’t they? Like talcum powder. I mean, if it’s gentle enough for a baby’s skin, it’s got to be safe, right? Wrong. Talc, (pictured above) the mineral used to make talcum powder, is actually in the asbestos family. It’s believed to cause cancer, and it’s in a lot more than just baby powder.
“Talc is toxic. 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 embedded 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 mining is detrimental to the environment, and talc miners have a high rate of lung cancer. But what is most appalling is the danger of talc in it’s average household use. PreventCancer.com goes on to say, “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.”
The American Cancer Society believes that there is not an increased risk of lung cancer associated with cosmetic grade talc, which is free of asbestos-like fibers, but does note a recent study that shows a 37% increase in risk of ovarian cancer in women who used talcum powder or feminine deodorant products containing talc.
Talc is most dangerous in powder form, but you may want to avoid it in all forms. When it comes to products that could cause cancer, I always think if it’s something I can live without, it’s just not worth the risk. Read labels and look for talc in everything from deodorant to antacids.