Originally published December 2 2008
Talcum powder as dangerous as asbestos
by Lynn Berry
(NaturalNews) Back in 1973 the evidence about the dangers of talc prompted the FDA to think about steps to reduce the level of the asbestos-like fibers in cosmetic talc. The dangers are that talc is related to asbestos – a known carcinogen – and that the presence of talc particles is linked to tumors. However, the FDA did not regulate cosmetic talc even after 1993 when the National Toxicology Program reported that cosmetic talc, which had no fibers, was the cause of tumors in animals.
Talc is a soft green-gray colored mineral produced from rocks and processed into a powder. Pure talc mineral is a hydrous magnesium silicate. Some trace minerals are removed in processing but very small fibers remain which are similar to those that occur in asbestos.
Most talc is formed from altered dolomite or magnesite when there is excess dissolved silica. A number of minerals associated with talc include: tremolite, serpentine, anthophyllite, magnesite, mica and chlorite. Note that there are six minerals are defined as asbestos and two of these are also talc – tremolite and anthophyllite.
Commercial talc may contain impurities and contaminates such as asbestos and crystalline silica. In fact asbestos may occur in talc.
Talc is used in diverse industries and for a wide variety of purposes. It is commonly used in cosmetics and body powders, including those for babies. It has hydrophobic surface properties helping to keep skin dry.
In the paper industry, talc is used as a filler which enhances the quality of the paper for printing and appearance of opacity. It is used in ceramic tiles, and in paints and coatings. Did you know that the dust on some chewing gums contains talc? Talc is also used in in flea and tick powder, deodorants, chalk and crayons, textiles and soap.
Now we have another study (published in the Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention journal) that shows that women who use talcum powder around their genital areas are 40% more likely to develop ovarian cancer. The study led by Dr Maggie Gates of Harvard Medical School analyzed 3,000 women. The risk of ovarian cancer for those who used talcum powder once a week was found to be 36%, while those using it every day the risk went up to 41%.
In a recent separate incident a group of doctors at the Harvard Medical School found talc particles in the pelvis of a woman diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She had used talcum powder every day for around 30 years.
In 1982 in Cancer magazine the conclusions from a study recommend that the lifetime use of talcum powder increases the risk of ovarian cancer by more than three times. Consequently, various cancer organizations warn against the use of talcum powder. For many people this warning is a bit late.
Talc also causes poisoning due to accidental exposure. The website preventcancer.com (see link below) state that from the early 1980's accidental inhalation of talc (baby powder) has caused the death or serious illness of several thousands infants.
Talc is used in some medications such as some antiacids and in some antiseptics. So the question is is talc dangerous when used as medications? Actually there are so many questions we need to ask. What guidelines should be available and what regulations exist that protect people? Why do so many children suffer needlessly because of lack of care demonstrated by authorities? Why weren't women protected against the use of talcum powder 30 years ago?
Over and over again when there is a choice about caring for our fellow human beings and about earning profits, selfishness wins. And the authorities lack the care and the compassion required to serve us well.
About the authorLynn Berry is passionate about personal development, natural health care, justice and spirituality. She has a website at www.lynn-berry.com.
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