Talcum powder: you know it as the fragrant powdery substance that is sold on its own and used in a variety of different products, including cosmetics and facial powders. For years, parents used it in their children’s diapers as a means to control moisture and odor. Recent concerns, however, have indicated that talcum powder may be extremely dangerous for your health, and may even be linked to cancer.
Talcum powder is made from talc, a mineral made up mainly of the elements oxygen, magnesium, and silicon. In its powder form, it absorbs moisture and reduces friction. It also keeps skin dry and prevents rashes.
The problem with talcum powder is that talc, in its natural form, contains asbestos, which is known to cause cancer in and around the lungs when inhaled. Although all talcum products in the United States have been asbestos-free since the 1970s, it is only natural that many people have concerns about its use.
It is widely accepted and known that talcum that contains asbestos can cause cancer. However, it is unclear if talcum powder that is asbestos-free is cancer-causing. Scientists have conducted many studies regarding the topic, and have come up with mixed results.
Some experts have expressed concern that ovarian cancer is caused when objects that contain talc come in contact with or inside of the vagina. For instance, items such as tampons, condoms, diaphragms, and sanitary napkins that have talc could possibly cause the substance to come in contact with the ovaries, which leave some wondering if their use causes cancer.
According to a report, study findings have been mixed regarding the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. Some studies found a slightly increased risk of developing cancer, while others showed no risk at all. Since many items that women use contain talcum powder, it is important to determine if the talcum powder found in women’s products does, in fact, cause cancer. As such, research on this matter will continue.
Breathing in material that contains talcum powder has caused concern for many. However, just like with ovarian cancer, the study findings are unclear. Some research on talc miners and millers have suggested an increased risk of lung cancer development. Other research, however, denies any risk. The result findings are often difficult to determine because miners and millers are usually exposed to other elements while underground, besides just talc. This means that even if a risk was detected, it is unclear as to what is actually causing the cancer, the talc, or the other elements.
Because the study findings are so confusing, there is no clear “yes” or “no” answer when it comes to the determining if talcum powder causes cancer. However, a few facts are clear. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified that talc containing asbestos as carcinogenic to humans. Additionally, IARC states that inhaled talc that does not contain asbestos is not believed to cause cancer in humans. Finally, based on the limited evidence from human studies regarding a link from talcum powder to ovarian cancer, the IARC concludes that the use of talc-based body powder can possibly cause ovarian cancer.
Talcum powder users and those who are around talc may become concerned about their health, particularly if they begin to show symptoms that they may have cancer. If you believe that talc has caused you to become ill, you may be entitled to receive financial compensation.