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Talc Terrors

July 18, 2011

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I’m happy to see how much light is being shed on the dangers of toxins in cosmetics such as parabens and sulfates, but to be terribly honest I wasn’t really too sure what the fuss over talc was all about. It sounds pretty harmless, after all isn’t that what we use on babies to prevent diaper rash and irritation? Oh…wait…apparently no one bothered to consider the dangers of this crushed mineral, closely related to asbestos, before blotting it all over the bums of newborns and our very own lovely faces.

I decided to do a little research and very easily came across some pretty terrifying information.

According to the Cancer Prevention Coalition:

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 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. Talc miners have shown higher rates of lung cancer and other respiratory illnesses from exposure to industrial grade talc, which contains dangerous silica and asbestos. 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.

Now I’m not honestly too sure how many of us out there are powdering our genital area (not judging, just a practice I’m not too familiar with) but still, would you want to put something that has the potential to cause ovarian and lung cancer ANYWHERE on your body? Not me.

I also found this Huffington Post article quite interesting, stating that despite confirmed connections between the use of talc and ovarian cancer:

Nor has the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) even shown casual concern about the dangers of talc. The closest admission to this effect came in 1993 when the Acting Associate Commissioner for Legislative Affairs of the Department of Health and Human Services admitted “we are aware that there have been reports in the medical literature between frequent female perineal talc dusting over a protracted period of years, and an incremental increase in the statistical odds of subsequent development of certain ovarian cancers.” Then, amazingly, this official went on to say that the FDA “is not considering to ban, restrict or require a warning statement on the label of talc containing products.”

I find that slightly more than terrifying. It makes me so sad that we really have to do serious research and fend for ourselves if we want to avoid very serious toxins in our cosmetics.

Another fun fact: talc is often found in the first couple ingredients of beauty products including but not limited to loose and pressed powders.

Please read the ingredients of your beauty products and thank you for reading!


2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 18, 2011 3:10 am

    Yikes…good to know. :/

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