Talcum powder, the cosmetic product used by millions of men and women around the country, has become a topic of hot debate these days. There have been studies linking the use of talcum powder to the development of ovarian and several other types of cancers. Talcum powder is used by people for its ability to absorb moisture and to fight against body odor resulting from perspiration in hot and humid conditions. It has been used on the bodies of little babies for so many decades that the news that it can cause cancer has come as a shock for the population. Let us know the reasons why talcum powder may cause cancer in human beings. 

Constituents of Talcum Powder

Before talking about the reasons why talcum powder is causing cancer, it is pertinent to know about the constituents that make up this cosmetic product.  Talcum powder is made up of a soft mineral called talc while other components of this powder are silicon, magnesium, and oxygen. Application of talcum powder keeps the skin dry and smooth and removes rashes and irritation. It also keeps the user feeling well because of the fragrance that is used in the product. Then why is there a spate of talcum powder lawsuits if it is such a harmless cosmetic product? It is because of the presence of a substance called asbestos that is believed by doctors to be a carcinogenic substance. 

Asbestos Can Cause Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a kind of malignant tumor found in the lungs, heart, and abdomen. Doctors believe it is caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers present in talcum powder. The thing to remember here is that it is not pure talc inside talcum powder that is responsible for this tumor. It is when talc becomes contaminated with asbestos that it becomes carcinogenic. The FDA is committed to protecting consumers from cosmetic products that may be harmful to their health. It gave AMA Analytical Services a task to test samples of various cosmetic products. This study found that 43 samples were safe while 9 of them contained asbestos. 

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Asbestos Can Cause Ovarian Cancer

U.S courts have given a verdict against Johnson & Johnson for selling talcum powder that caused ovarian cancers in many women.  It shows that regular and excessive use of talcum powder over the genital area can lead to ovarian cancer in some women. Alarmed by the increasing numbers of consumers blaming cosmetic products for their cancers, the FDA assigned the AMA the task of analyzing the samples of cosmetic products for the presence of asbestos. The federal agency notified the common public about the findings of this study in which 9 samples were found positive for the presence of asbestos. 

Asbestos Can Cause Uterine Cancer

Doctors have found that excessive and regular use of talcum powder on the groin area can lead to uterine cancer in some women. Realizing this danger, the FDA keeps on testing samples of cosmetic products to find out if they are safe for the use of the end-users. MedWatch is FD’s Adverse Event Reporting Program that can be used by healthcare professionals and common people to report about cosmetic products causing harmful effects. 

Talcum powder has been used for generations for its ability to absorb moisture. However, asbestos-contaminated talcum powder can lead to cancer in human beings. Consumers should be careful in buying and cosmetic products.  

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