About this Chemical

  • What is talcum powder? Talcum powder is made from talc, a mineral made up mainly of the elements magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. As a powder, it absorbs moisture well and helps cut down on friction, making it useful for keeping skin dry and helping to prevent rashes. It is widely used in cosmetic products such as baby powder and adult body and facial powders, as well as in a number of other consumer products.In its natural form, some talc may contain asbestos, a substance known to cause cancers in and around the lungs when inhaled.
  • Most concerns about a possible link between talcum powder and cancer have been focused on 2 main areas:
    • Whether people who have long-term exposure to natural talc fibers at work, such as talc miners, are at higher risk from lung cancer from breathing them in.
    • Whether women who apply talcum powder regularly in the genital area have an increased risk of ovarian cancer.