You have probably used talcum powder or other talc powder containing products (i.e. feminine hygiene products) in the past without ever thinking that they may cause serious health problems. However, it appears that talcum powder may cause significant lung damage (or even lung cancer) if inhaled, in addition to, increasing the risk for ovarian cancer. However,despite these apparent risks, the FDA has still not pulled this product from the market or forced manufacturers to place more comprehensive warning labels informing consumers about the possible health risks related to the usage of talcum containing products.
Evidence Supporting Talc's Possible Health Risks
- According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, baby powder is no longer recommended for treatment or prevention of diaper rash (relates to risks for damage to the baby's lungs).
- Proposed label from Cancer Prevention Coalition for all Talc Products: “Frequent application of talcum powder in the female genital area substantially increases the risk of ovarian cancer,” http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/petition-seeking-a-cancer-warning-on-cosmetic-talc-powder-products-57264457.html .
- Current warning label from Johnson's Baby Powder: "Warnings: For external use only. Keep out of reach of children. Close tightly after use. Do not use on broken skin. Avoid contact with eyes. Keep powder away from child's face to avoid inhalation, which can cause breathing problems."
- Exert from MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) on Talc U.S.P http://www.hvchemical.com/msds/talc.htm (Important to note that talc also contains small amounts of Crystalline silica which may cause serious health consequences of its own http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_General_Facts/crystalline-factsheet.pdf ). "Prolonged inhalation of dust is associated with respiratory effects. Long term excessive exposures to talc may cause Talcosis, a pulmonary fibrosis which may in turn lead to severe and permanent damage to the lung. Crystalline silica: Chronic inhalation of dust can produce silicosis, a disease of the lungs. Cardiopulmonary impairment may occur. Chronic inhalation of crystalline silica is a lung cancer hazard. "
- Talc has been implicated in many reports of lung irritation, respiratory distress, respiratory failure and even death upon inhalation http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/43/6/1058.abstract, http://www.ijponline.net/content/37/1/47 , http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002719.htm .
- Many warnings and reports suggesting increased risk of ovarian cancers when talcum powder is applied to the genital area http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20406962 .
- Talc is closely related to the known carcinogen asbestos http://www.preventcancer.com/consumers/cosmetics/talc.htm .
- Use non-talc powders only http://www.nichetopics.info/natural-talcum-powder-alternatives.html .
- Cornstarch powder is a safe alternative that is easily found at your local drug store..... http://www.walgreens.com/store/c/gold-bond-ultimate-comfort-body-powder/ID=prod1319113-product
- Try using feminine products that do not contain talc (read the ingredients label of the product carefully) http://waldbaums.grocerydirect.com/pd/Tampax/Flushable-Cardboard-Applicator-Regular-Absorbency/40-ct/073010221109/ .
- Use protective ointments or creams ( http://www.walgreens.com/q/diaper-rash-cream ) for the control and treatment of "diaper rash" since cornstarch-based powders may promote yeast growth.
Informational Videos Regarding The Possible Risks From Talc
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