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Talcum Powder

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I can remember as a young child, being lifted out of the bath, wrapped in a warm fluffy towel, dried, and then dusted with talcum powder (or talc).  

Baby Hands on Towel

Does that bring back memories to you also? 

But have you ever noticed that, nowadays, it is a lot more difficult to buy talcum powder? We discuss why.

Talc is a mineral produced by mining of talc rocks and processed by crushing, drying and milling.  The processing of talc eliminates a number of trace minerals from the talc but does not separate miniscule fibres, very similar to asbestos. 

Asbestos has been found to be a potent carcinogen (it can cause cancer). 

Based on scientific research, spanning 30 years, in 1973 the FDA drafted a resolution that would limit the amount of asbestos-like fibres in cosmetic-grade talc.  However, as no actual ruling was enforced, talc remains non-regulated.

Research has found that talc particles can cause tumours in the ovaries and lungs.  Numerous studies have shown a strong link between frequent use of talc in the female genital area and ovarian cancer and, indeed, researchers have been known to find talc particles in ovarian tumours. (Ref: Harlow BL, Cramer DW, Bell DA, Welch WR. "Perineal exposure to talc and ovarian cancer risk." Obstetrics & Gynecology, 80: 19-26, 1992)

Talc also poses a health risk when exposed to the lungs.  Since the early 1980s, records show that several thousand infants each year have died or become seriously ill following accidental inhalation of baby powder containing talc. (Ref: Hollinger MA. "Pulmonary toxicity of inhaled and intravenous talc." Toxicology Letters, 52:121-127, 1990.)

There lie the facts.  But there is no need to panic.  There may be no need to throw out your dusting powder or that of your baby as manufacturers are becoming more and more aware of the dangers of talc and are now using alternatives in their products.  What is important is that you read the list of ingredients.  If you see talc, magnesium silicate hydroxide, soapstone, or steatite listed as an ingredient, then don’t purchase that product.

In the past talc was used because of its ability to absorb unpleasant moisture.  But there are alternatives which work just as well as talc, without the dangers.

Our Simply Skin Body Dust powders ( are all talc-free.  As an alternative we incorporate sodium bicarbonate – an effective and natural way to absorb moisture without clogging up your pores.  For more details visit us at:

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