baby

Some talc may contain the known carcinogen asbestos, therefore it should be avoided in powders and other personal care products, unless it is known to be asbestos-free. Even asbestos-free talc should be avoided in the pelvic areas.

FOUND IN: Baby powder, body and shower products, lotions, feminine hygiene products, eyeshadow, foundation, lipstick, deodorants and face masks.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR ON THE LABEL: Talcum powder, cosmetic talc

WHAT IS TALC? Talc is a mineral substance used in a variety of cosmetic and personal care products from baby powders to eye shadows. It is added to absorb moisture, smooth or soften products, prevent caking, and make makeup opaque.[1] MORE...

Talc is also used as an anti-sticking substance in food products and dispersing agent in animal feed and fertilizers.[2] Talc-containing feminine hygiene products are widely distributed and commonly used in the United States.[3]

Talc can be mined from the earth or produced industrially.[4] Some talc is contaminated with asbestos, a mineral substance linked to cancer, [5,6] as a result of its close proximity in the earth. Testing talc samples for asbestos is the only way to identify contamination.[7] Two-thirds of baby powders tested in Korea contained asbestos.[8]

Generally, the only way for consumers to know if products are free of asbestos is if manufacturers use talc that is tested and certified as asbestos-free. However, one type of asbestos known as tremolite was found in cosmetic talcum powders labeled “tremolite-free,” suggesting that this approach is not foolproof.[9,10]

It is important to note that talc containing asbestos differs from asbestiform talc, as the term “asbestiform” describes patterns of mineral growth and not the presence of asbestos or other minerals.[11] However, there are some concerns about occupational exposure to asbestiform talc, specifically lung disease among miners and industrial workers.[12]

HEALTH CONCERNS: Irritation, cancer, organ system toxicityMORE...

Irritation: Case studies of infants inhaling talc-containing baby powder showed severe respiratory distress.[13, 14]

Cancer: The International Agency for Research on Cancer lists talc containing asbestos as carcinogenic to humans while perineal use of talc is classified as possibly carcinogenic.[15],[16] Talc use is linked to endometrial and ovarian cancer.[17],[18] Cosmetic talc applied to the pelvic area, from feminine hygiene products or diaper changes, enters the body and can reach distant organs. This may explain why talc has been found in women’s ovaries and pelvic lymph nodes.[19],[20] Genital talc use increases risk of endometrial cancer among postmenopausal women.[21],[22,],[23]  For all women, risk may increase with frequency of use, although this remains contended.[24, 25, 26]

Talc exposure is associated with mesothelioma, a tumor of tissue lining organs such as the lungs, stomach, and heart. Previous talcum exposure is involved in the development and pathogenesis of lung cancer. Workers in the New York talc industry were more likely to develop mesothelioma, which was attributed to inhalation of dust.[27]

Organ system toxicity: Talc elevates lung burden. Talc inhalation can interfere with mechanisms that clean lungs and mitigate inflammation thereby damaging cells and potentially leading to cancer.[28] In human lung epithelial cells, nanoscale talc particles damaged and killed cells while inducing oxidative stress, which is the buildup of harmful molecular agents in the body.[29] Asbestos was found in the lung tissue and lymph nodes of women using cosmetic powders containing talc.[30] Talc exposure, especially via personal care products, can also lead to a diseased respiratory tract as characterized by labored breathing and coughing.[31],[32],[33]

Talc adversely affects the female genital system resulting in infection and inflammation.[34] Talcum powder is toxic to ovarian tissue in rats.[35]

VULNERBALE POPULATIONS: Women, infants, children, miners, millers, and processors of talc

REGULATIONS: Talc is restricted in the European Union.[36]

HOW TO AVOID: Avoid personal care and cosmetic products that contain talc if used in the pelvic area. Choose companies that certify their talc is free of asbestos.

References
[1] FDA. Talc. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2014. Available online: http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductsIngredients/Ingredients/ucm293184.htm

[2]International Agency for Research on Cancer. Carbon black, titanium dioxide, talc. IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, vol. 93, pp 1-419, 2010. Available online: http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Monographs/vol93/mono93.pdf

[3] International Agency for Research on Cancer. Carbon black, titanium dioxide, talc. IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, vol. 93, pp 1-419, 2010. Available online: http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Monographs/vol93/mono93.pdf

[4] International Agency for Research on Cancer. Carbon black, titanium dioxide, talc. IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, vol. 93, pp 1-419, 2010. Available online: http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Monographs/vol93/mono93.pdf

[5] FDA. Talc. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2014. Available online: http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductsIngredients/Ingredients/ucm293184.htm

[6][6] International Agency for Research on Cancer. Asbestos (chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, actinolite, and anthophyllite). IARC Monographs, vol. 100C, pp 219-309, 2012. Available online: http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Monographs/vol100C/mono100C-11.pdf

[7] Finley B, Pierce J, Phelka A, Adams R, Paustenbahc D, Thuett K, Barlow C. Evaluation of tremolite asbestos exposures associated with the use of commercial products. Critical Reviews in Toxicology, vol. 42, no. 2, pp 119-146, 2012.

[8] Moon M, et al. Risk assessment of baby powder exposure through inhalation. Toxicol. Res., vol. 27, no. 3, pp 137-141, 2011.

[9] Lopez-Galindo A, Viseras C, Cerezo P. Compositional, technical, and safety specifications of clays to be used as pharmaceuticals and cosmetic products. Applied Clay Science, vol. 36, pp 51-63, 2007.

[10] Finley B, Pierce J, Phelka A, Adams R, Paustenbahc D, Thuett K, Barlow C. Evaluation of tremolite asbestos exposures associated with the use of commercial products. Critical Reviews in Toxicology, vol. 42, no. 2, pp 119-146, 2012.

[11] Baan R. Carcinogenic hazards from inhaled carbon black, titanium dioxide, and talc not containing asbestos or asbestiform fibers: recent evaluations by an IARC Monographs working group. Inhalation Toxicology, vol. 19, no. Suppl. 1, pp 213-228, 2007.

[12] Shakoor A, Rahatullah A, Shah A, Zubairi A. Pulmonary talcosis 10 years after brief teenage exposure to cosmetic talcum powder. BMJ Case Reports, pp 1-5, 2011.

[13] Garlich F, Nelson L. Inhalation of baby powder. Emergency Medicine, vol. 43, no. 1, pp 17-20, 2013.

[14] Matina F, Collura M, Maggio M, Vitulo P, Piparo C, Corsello G. Inhaled surfactant in the treatment of accidental talc powder inhalation: a new case report. Italian Journal of Pediatrics, vol. 37, pp 47, 2011.

[15] IARC. Agents classified by the IARC Monographs, Volumes 1-112, 2015. Available online: http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Classification/ClassificationsAlphaOrder.pdf

[16] International Agency for Research on Cancer. Carbon black, titanium dioxide, talc. IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, vol. 93, pp 1-419, 2010. Available online: http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Monographs/vol93/mono93.pdf

[17] Merritt M, Green A, Nagle C, Webb P, Australian Cancer Study (Ovarian Cancer), Australian Ovarian Cancer Study Group. Talcum powder, chronic pelvic inflammation and NSAIDS in relation to risk of epithelial ovarian cancer. Int. J. Cancer, vol. 122, pp 170-176, 2008.

[18] Rosenblatt K, Weiss N, Cushing-Haugen K, Wicklund K, Rossing M. Genital powder exposure and the risk of epithelial ovarian cancer. Cancer Causes Control, vol. 22, pp 737-742, 2011.

[19] Heller D, Westhoff C, Gordon R, Katz N. The reltionahip between perineal cosmetic talc usage and ovarian talc particle burden. Am J Obstet Gynecol, vol. 174, pp 1507-1510, 1996.

[20] Cramer D, Welch W, Berkowitz R, Godleski J. Presence of talc in pelvic lymph nodes of a woman with ovarian cancer and long-term genital exposure to cosmetic talc. Obstretrics and Gynecology, vol. 110, no. 2, pp 498-501, 2007.

[21] Karageorgi S, Gates M, Hankinson S, De Vivo I. Perineal use of talcum powder and endometrial cancer. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, vol. 19, no. 5, pp 1269-1275, 2010.

[22] Webb P. Environmental (nongenetic) factors in gynecological cancers: update and future perspectives. Future Oncology, vol. 11, no. 2, pp 295-307, 2015.

[23] Crawford L, Reeves K, Luisi N, Balasubramanian R, Sturgeon S. Perineal powder use and risk of endometrial cancer in postmenopausal women. Cancer Causes Control, vol. 23, pp 1673-1680, 2012.

[24] Karageorgi S, Gates M, Hankinson S, De Vivo I. Perineal use of talcum powder and endometrial cancer. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, vol. 19, no. 5, pp 1269-1275, 2010.

[25] Terry K, et al. Genital powder use and risk of ovarian cancer: a pooled analysis of 8,525 cases and 9,859 control. Cancer Prevention Research, vol. 6, no. 8, pp 811-821, 2013.

[26] Rosenblatt K, Weiss N, Cushing-Haugen K, Wicklund K, Rossing M. Genital powder exposure and the risk of epithelial ovarian cancer. Cancer Causes Control, vol. 22, pp 737-742, 2011.

[27] Finkelstein M. Malignant mesothelioma incidence among talc miners and millers in New York State. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, vol. 55, pp 863-868, 2012.

[28] Baan R. Carcinogenic hazards from inhaled carbon black, titanium dioxide, and talc not containing asbestos or asbestiform fibers: recent evaluations by an IARC Monographs working group. Inhalation Toxicology, vol. 19, no. Suppl. 1, pp 213-228, 2007.

[29] Akhtar M, Ahamed M, Khan M, Alrokayan S, Ahmad I, Kumar S. Cytotoxicity and apoptosis induction by nanoscale talc particles from two different geographical regions in human lung epithelial cells. Environmental Toxicology

[30] Gordon R, Fitzgerald S, Millette J. Asbestos in commercial cosmetic talcum powder as a cause of mesothelioma in women. International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, vol. 20, no. 4, 318-332, 2014.

[31] Shakoor A, Rahatullah A, Shah A, Zubairi A. Pulmonary talcosis 10 years after brief teenage exposure to cosmetic talcum powder. BMJ Case Reports, pp 1-5, 2011.

[32] Van Huisstede A, Hegt V, Otte-Holler I, Looijen-Salamon M, Rudolphus A. Talcosis due to abundant use of cosmetic talcum powder. European Respiratory Review, vol. 19, no. 116, pp 165-168, 2010.

[33] Magon P. Reversible lung disease due to abundant use of talcum powder. Indian J Pediatr, vol. 79, no. 10, pp 1383, 2012.

[34] Keskin N, Teksen Y, Ongun E, Ozay Y, Saygih H. Does long-term talc exposure have a carcinogenic effect on the female gentical system of rats? An experimental pilot study. Arch Gynecol Obstet, vol. 280, pp 925-931, 2009.

[35] Yumrutas O, Kara M, Atilgan R, Kavak S, Bozgeyik I, Sapmaz E. Application of talcum powder trichloroacetic acid and silver nitrate in female rats for non-surgical sterilization: evaluation of the apoptotic pathway mRNA and miRNA genes. Int. J. Exp. Path., vol. 96, pp 111-115, 2015.

[36] European Commission. Annex III. Available online: http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/cosmetics/cosing/index.cfm?fuseaction=search.results&annex_v2=III&search