A long time ago, talc contained some asbestos. Asbestos is bad because it causes cancer. If talc is highly refined in modern facilities, it should contain no asbestos.
Today, Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay $417 million in talcum powder case by International Court.
The company has no legal obligation to put such a label on its product. Because talcum powder is legally considered a cosmetic, it does not have to undergo a review by the US Food and Drug Administration like a drug would. But it would have to be properly labeled with ingredients and other information, and the product “must be safe for use by consumers under labeled or customary conditions of use,” according to the agency.
Does Talcum Powder Causes Cancer?
There have been a few articles on the internet that show a minimal correlation but essentially the numbers simply don’t really show much either way.
If i recalled correctly, one of the claims is that J&J did not mark their product “For External Use Only”. Talc is fine for external use, but you should not inhale, eat, breathe, or insert it. Some people use talc too much, and put it too close to their body openings where it could potentially go inside. It’s bad to put anything inside your body that doesn’t really belong.
Even if the talc powder used is pure talc and doesn’t have any asbestos, it could be an irritant to the special skin inside your body (epithelium). That’s because, under a microscope, talc is made of very sharp crystals of rock. The jury is still if this causes cancer or not. That said, it’s probably best to avoid it and not put it inside your body.
Talc has been used for such a long time that it is not considered a drug by the US government – it’s cosmetic. Cosmetics do not need to be tested and approved by the FDA the same way that drugs are.
So anyhow, whether you are a lady or a guy or someone in between, you can use talc on your outside parts but don’t put it inside you.
Unrefined talc contains asbestos which is carcinogenic.
They allegedly removed the asbestos decades ago, but a number of studies found various different results concluding that it probably was still carcinogenic.
There were some studies done a few years ago about Aluminium in deodorant causing breast cancer, so it’s possible that something similar happens with talc with other metals.
The long and short of it is, no one really knows if it’s safe or not as depending on the study the results aren’t conclusive enough.
Also, prolonged use of Talcum powder in confined spaces can cause a condition called pulmonary talcosis. It’s related to silicosis in which finely ground pieces of rock get into your lungs and cause inflammation. My mom used to use a lot of talc powder until my aunt (is an MD) told her about this. Lifted from Wikipedia
Chronic simple silicosis
Usually resulting from long-term exposure (10 years or more) to relatively low concentrations of silica dust and usually appearing 10–30 years after first exposure. This is the most common type of silicosis. Patients with this type of silicosis, especially early on, may not have obvious signs or symptoms of the disease, but abnormalities may be detected by x-ray. A chronic cough and exertional dyspnea (shortness of breath) are common findings. Radiographically, chronic simple silicosis reveals a profusion of small (<10 mm in diameter) opacities, typically rounded, and predominating in the upper lung zones.
Silicosis that develops 5–10 years after first exposure to higher concentrations of silica dust. Symptoms and x-ray findings are similar to chronic simple silicosis, but occur earlier and tend to progress more rapidly. Patients with accelerated silicosis are at greater risk for complicated disease, including progressive massive fibrosis (PMF).
Silicosis can become “complicated” by the development of severe scarring (progressive massive fibrosis, or also known as conglomerate silicosis), where the small nodules gradually become confluent, reaching a size of 1 cm or greater. PMF is associated with more severe symptoms and respiratory impairment than the simple disease. Silicosis can also be complicated by another lung disease, such as tuberculosis, non-tuberculous mycobacterial infection, and fungal infection, certain autoimmune diseases, and lung cancer. Complicated silicosis is more common with accelerated silicosis than with the chronic variety.
Silicosis that develops a few weeks to 5 years after exposure to high concentrations of respirable silica dust. This is also known as silicoproteinosis. Symptoms of acute silicosis include the more rapid onset of severe disabling shortness of breath, cough, weakness, and weight loss, often leading to death. The x-ray usually reveals a diffuse alveolar filling with air bronchograms, described as a ground-glass appearance, and similar to pneumonia, pulmonary edema, alveolar hemorrhage, and alveolar cell lung cancer.