Almost everyone has used talcum powder which is a soft white powder made from talc or magnesium silicate. Talc absorbs moisture and thus helps in the reduction in friction. This powder has known to cause ovarian cancer when used by perineal hygiene.
Talc primarily consists of magnesium, silicon, and oxygen that are finely ground into a powder. In the powder form this talc is highly absorbent and thus is the go to choice of ingredient for cosmetics, personal hygiene products and other common consumer goods.
There have been questions about the safety of talcum powder for over a decade but healthcare professionals have finally found that this powder can cause ovarian cancer and other serious health problems.
Uses of Talcum powder
For many years talcum powder has been used in almost all kinds of personal hygiene products they are present on a large scale in
- Baby powder
- Medicated powders
- Foot powders
- Deodorant powders
- Perfumed powders
- Sanitary and incontinence pads
Safety Issues with Talcum Powder
There have been numerous safety issues with the use of talcum powder
- Respiratory problems: this is seen mainly infants and thus it is recommended to refrain from using any powder that contains talc for your child.
- Talcosis: as this is a powder in the process of application there are some particles that get airborne and thus when inhaled can cause fast and shallow breathing, wheezing, coughing and also the possibility of an acute or chronic lung irritation known as Talcosis.
- Extended exposure: inhaling talc can also cause problems such as pneumonia and also trigger asthma in very sensitive individuals. People who engage in mining and milling are exposed to these particles for an extended period of time and thus they can be prone to serious chronic respiratory diseases and even lung cancer.
- Ovarian cancer: talc has been used in many female hygiene products. Evidence linking application of talc to female genitalia to ovarian cancer in females.
Lawsuits against Talcum Powder
Since these side effects and risks of using talc for hygiene have come up many lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturers that make talc-based body and baby powders. The plaintiffs in these cases allege that Johnson & Johnson the leading producer of baby powder and other baby products has known about this risk of developing ovarian cancer for decades and did not provide the consumers with the necessary warnings of those dangers.