What is talc and is it safe?

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CANCER DANGER’: Talcum powder

SINCE the Johnson& Johnson case this week when they were ordered to pay out over 3.5 billion euros in damages to women who have contracted ovarian cancer from their signature talcum powder, questions are being asked if the infamous baby powder is safe to use.

The latest case which presented 22 women ovarian cancer sufferers, of which 6 had died, all claim that the asbestos in the powder caused the cancer.

For years there have been concerns that the mineral in talcum powder when applied near the genitals is cancerogenic but there is very little proof to solidify these claims because of mixed evidence.

The lawyers for Johnson and Johnson denied there was any harmful product in the powder but the prosecution told the court that the company had used flawed testing and has known since the 1970’s that it was potentially a danger risk.

Talc is a clay mineral mined all over the world, however in its natural form it contains another silicate mineral called asbestos. In the process of breaking down the particles to make talcum powder, asbestos traces are apparently removed from the talc, leaving just a non-toxic mineral powder. However, studies undertaken by different laboratories have shown mixed results. Based on dozens of studies using thousands of women from all ages, women who use or used talcum powder are about 30% more likely to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer than women who did not use talcum powder.

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