Talcum powder. It’s something most of us can recall as being a pretty common household item as children – it seemed nearly every personal hygiene ritual in the 60’s and 70’s involved getting doused in giant plumes of fine white dust. So it’s mind-boggling to think something so seemingly harmless and commonplace may be hazardous to our health.
You may have seen all the major news headlines in recent weeks about the World Health Organization adding cellphones to their list of “possible carcinogens” or cancer forming agents. But did you also know the same WHO list that cited mobile phones is 266 items long and also includes talcum powder?
So what is talcum powder exactly, and why should we be wary of it? Talcum powder gets it’s name from it’s main ingredient, talc, a mineral composed of hydrated magnesium silicate- it’s produced by the mining and processing of talc rocks. Processing eliminates a number of trace minerals from the talc, but doesn’t separate its minute fibers, which are structurally very similar to asbestos. Various studies over the years have raised serious concerns about talc, which aside from talcum powder is also used in many everyday cosmetics and household products – baby powder too.
The recent WHO announcement was based on data by the IARC which aims to identify environmental factors that can increase the risk of human cancer. These include chemicals, complex mixtures, occupational exposures, physical agents, biological agents, and lifestyle factors. National health agencies use this information as scientific support for their actions to prevent exposure to potential carcinogens.
While the jury is still out on talc’s link to certain types of diseases, mainly cancers of the ovaries and lungs, the recent WHO announcement brings the safety of this product into question for everyday usage. Did you know many mineral cosmetics also contain talc? We have more information about talc and other ingredients you should look out for on the Alexami website
All Alexami cosmetics are Talc-FREE, and we will never use talc in any of our range.