There are many things that are sold on the market that we know little to nothing about. Talc is one of those things. Talc is a mineral comprised of bits of magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. Its primary purpose is absorbing moisture. It is most commonly seen in talcum powders. In its base state, most talc contains asbestos.
Asbestos is a natural mineral, but it is a known carcinogen. Even though this fact is well known, asbestos is not banned in about 70% of the world. If you are a woman or have ovaries, we’ll go over why exactly asbestos, and by proxy talc, are so dangerous.
Dangers of Asbestos
As previously stated, Asbestos is a carcinogen. This means that it is a substance that has the capacity to cause cancer. Of course, just because it is a carcinogen that doesn’t mean that it will cause cancer every time or immediately. It just means that, with repeated exposure and time, people who use products with asbestos (talc-based) are at risk of developing cancer.
Asbestos specifically is the only known cause of mesothelioma. This is a cancer that occurs in the thin layer of tissue that covers most of your internal organs. Mesothelioma is a deadly and aggressive form of cancer and getting the all-clear from it is rare.
There are many cancers that can develop due to exposure to asbestos and talc-based products. These include lung cancer, kidney, and esophageal. Specifically, there has been a problem in the United States with asbestos and ovarian cancer, relating to some specific household toiletry products.
Asbestos and Ovarian Cancer
Though asbestos can be found in construction products and automotive parts, it is most commonly used in consumer products. Specifically, it is used in products aimed at female consumers.
These include baby powders, body powders, medicated powders, and makeup powders. All of these products have talc as a listed ingredient. Anything powder-based is at risk for having talc, and asbestos, in it.
Studies have shown that when women apply talc externally, the fine particles absorb into the skin. When they enter your system, they have been found to cluster in the ovary. This could easily lead to the development of cancer. These research projects have shown that using powders with talc in them have increased ovarian cancer risks from 2% to 33%.
How to Keep Yourself Safe
First, be on the lookout for companies that have shady pasts in relation to Talc. Johnson & Johnson, for example did not test talc-based products for asbestos while simultaneously promoting their body powders to women as genital hygiene products. This has led to many long-time customers sadly developing ovarian cancer. Other popular companies that have talc in them include Gold Bond and Nivea.
When purchasing products that have talc in them, make sure that you are doing your research on the company. Not every company is as terrible as Johnson & Johnson. Some companies make sure to do thorough testing on talc before using it in their products. Since talc is the softest mineral known to date, it is difficult for companies who sell powder-based products to switch to a different mineral. But, as long as they are testing for asbestos and only buying the best quality talc, there is nothing to worry about.
If you want to avoid talc in general, there are plenty of alternative products that you can use, such as creams and alternative powders with herbal bases. Your best friend is ingredient labels. Make sure that you are checking all labels when buying skin care and/or makeup products. That way, you can make sure you’re avoiding potentially toxic ingredients in your hygiene routine.
Published by Sarthak Sharma