Talcum powder seems like an innocent, harmless product, which is nothing but an everyday use product. The reason why it made the news is that the scientists have been arguing the harmful effects of using talcum powder since 1960’s.
Don’t believe it? Talcum powder is nothing but a mineral based product, which is a part of many cosmetics, and even baby products. One major controversy with using baby powder was that it increases the risk of ovarian cancer.
Still many of the people use it for the freshness and long-lasting effects. It is even used widely for infants. Johnson & Johnson, a famous brand spent over 700 million dollars in the legal pursuit of talcum powder and ovarian cancer controversy in previous years.
The use of talcum powders has not reached to any end instead it is blooming again. Despite the destructive effects, people tend to use it. Probably they aren’t convinced on how harmful a talcum powder can become for them.
The latest research says that you should not use talcum powder on your skin, be it a part of any cosmetic or a baby product. Also, avoid inhaling it. There are many other things that you can try for the same purpose.
This article is a complete guide on talcum powder, its uses, reasons of ban and alternatives.
Why use talcum powder?
Talcum powder is one famous product, which is known for its moisture absorption capacity and freshness. It is applied directly to the skin, and it lasts for long.
When used on babies, it is helpful to get rid of the diaper rash and other skin irritants. It reduces the skin friction and thus becomes a useful product for similar purposes. Many women prefer to use baby powder on their panties and pads to keep the freshness.
Not just baby powders, talcum powder, are also a part of cosmetics. It is specially used in compact powders, pressed powders and face powders. It helps to cover the skin smoothly thus the skin appears to be beautiful and even tone.
On children, the parents prefer to apply it as a part of routine get up. It helps to keep the rashes away, makes a refreshing fragrance that lasts for a whole day and absorbs the sweat.
Remember that baby product itself is no brand. It is just a product name, which is talcumed powder. So when we talk about baby powder, it doesn’t signify any specific brand but overall brands of talcum powders.
In baby powder, there are several ingredients. It contains talc from which it got its name talcum powder. Talc is a clay mineral, which has various nutrients in it. Talc is mined from the earth.
Threats with using talcum powder
There are some significant threats, which make the status of baby powder questionable. Some of these risks are as follows.
- Talcum powder can cause ovarian cancer
American cancer society investigated several women to evaluate the use of talcum powder. Applying any product that contains talcum powder to the genital area of women has a high chance that it will travel through the vagina.
The particles of talcum powder are so tiny that they can easily be carried out. It will reach to the fallopian tube and uterus and end up at ovaries. There are a lot of studies since 1970’s, which proves that talcum powder has some link to it.
One latest research is published in the Journal of Epidemiology in 2016. It is an analysis of ovarian cancer and its relationship with talcum powder usage. The researchers evaluated over 2100 women for it. The data showed the risk of ovarian cancer was increased to 33%.
It was decreased when women stopped using it. Women that had a frequent habit of using talcum powder on or near to genital area had a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer.
A similar research published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention shows that 1300 Afro American women use baby powder in a routine that makes 62.8% of the women having ovarian cancer. It shows that there is some link between ovarian cancer and talcum powder.
- Talcum powder can cause lung cancer
The next threat with using talcum powder is that it can cause lung cancer too. Yes, inhaling talcum powder can be a complicated process when you apply it to your infants and children.
It is not a direct cause of lung cancer but it surely contributes to it. Not just the lung cancer, talcum powder, if inhaled can cause many respiratory and lungs disease that is more likely to hit the miners, which dig for talc.
A research published in American Journal of Epidemiology tells that lung cancer and respiratory diseases among the mineworkers are very high. They are exposed to the high level of silica dust, which makes them develop an illness. The mortality rate was higher among people that work in talc mines than ordinary people.
- Talcum powder causes lungs diseases
Talc has tiny particles, which can irritate lungs and breathing issues. Respiratory distress is one common thing to affect the regular users. It can affect people of all ages.
When the talc particles are inhaled or ingested, they cause internal inflammation, majorly with the respiratory organs. There is a disease called pulmonary talcosis which is a disorder caused by talc. It involves internal inflammation, chronic cough, inability to swallow and breathing issues.
- Talcum powder causes Granulomatosis
There is this condition called talc Granulomatosis, which is caused by the talc. It is a disease of drug abusers, which ingest the tables that contain talc. Talc is a common ingredient in many medicines and tablets.
The reason to add talc in the formula is that it holds the composition and firmly compacts all the ingredients inside. There is also a direct method to inject talc in blood vessels, which is even more harmful. It causes the granulomas of lungs.
What are the other products that have talc in them?
There are so many products, which have talc in their ingredient list. If you think it is only the baby powder that has talc, you are wrong. Talc is as ordinary as anything. You may never know that talc is a part of many products that use daily.
Here are a few examples of talc products, other than baby powders.
- Bathing bombs
- Hand Creams
- Body Creams
- Face powders
- Blush on
- Feminine hygiene products
- Showering products
- Face foundation
Different brands produce these products if you want to avoid using talc-based products; it is necessary to read the label. Next time take a complete look at all products and their labels, which tell about the ingredient lists.
Make sure that the product, which you are buying, has no talc in it. Take extra care especially when you are buying feminine hygiene products and any product, which is used on pelvic, genital or near to these areas.
What are the alternatives to talc-based products?
Like said before, there are many things that you can try in place of talc products. Only you need to search for these options. Some of the suggestions to try are as follows.
- Baby products
The most significant use of talc powder for babies is for diaper rash. There are so many things that you can try to get rid of the diaper rash. Instead of using the chemical based products, you can try natural remedies too.
Coconut oil is one excellent natural remedy for the rash. You can try any carrier oil for it. Other options are body butter, beeswax, shea butter, calendula, etc. You can also try magnesium oil, which is commonly available. It works best for rash healing.
Some better alternatives of women products, which can be moisture absorbent or freshness product, are countless. You don’t need to rely on talcum powder for it.
Some alternative remedies are to use baking soda, cornstarch, shea butter, vitamin E creams, etc.
For cosmetics, always buy from trusted brands, which you know that don’t use talc in their products. If you are uncertain about a specific brand, ask them directly or check their website information.
Concluding remarks on Talcum powder risks
Talcum powder, commonly famous as the baby powder is made out of talc, which is a clay mineral. It is mined from the earth that has proximity to asbestos that is another type of clay, risky for inducing cancer.
There are many research studies, which tell that talcum powder can induce ovarian cancer, lung cancer, breathing issues and similar health problems. In this regard, it is better to use a product that doesn’t have talc in it.
You need to double-check the product labels next time when you go out for shopping. Anything either cosmetic or medicinal has to have minimal levels of talc in it. Avoid using talcum powder on or near to your genital area. Try to use natural remedies.