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Is Talc Safe To Use?

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If you’re worried or concerned about the possible long-term negative consequences of using talc powder, this article should clear everything up.

In early 2016, the family of an American woman who died of ovarian cancer was awarded a $72 million settlement on the basis that she had been using a talc powder that did not give any advanced warning of possible side effects.

The woman had been using Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder for over a decade.

The pervading belief is that talc powder can increase the risk of cancer.

The truth however, is a little bit more complicated.

Does Talc Cause Cancer? 


​The truth is, talc, in its purest and most natural form, can and has been shown to increase the risk of cancer in both men and women.


This has been scientifically and definitively proven to be the result of embedded asbestos in and around talc mineral deposits. ​

When talc is dug up and mined, its deposits are often located in and around asbestos. And for first half of the 20th century, this asbestos was often times not purged entirely from the talc.

In the 1970’s, government regulators made it a requirement for all talc powder (in all cosmetic products), to be entirely, 100% asbestos-free. Stringent quality control measures were brought in (and continue to this day), and as such, asbestos has been thoroughly eliminated from all talc products. ​

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And what about talc itself?

Has it been or is it linked to various types of cancers?


Talc powder has never been linked to any type of cancer in men, despite several well-funded and lengthy studies attempting to prove otherwise.

  • According to a lengthy study done in 2015 by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel, talc is absolutely “safe to use in its present practice and use.”
  • To date, there has never been any study which has definitively linked talc powder usage to increased cancer rates….in men

Is Talcum Powder Bad for Your Berries? 

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Earlier in 2018 a US court ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay out some $117 million to a man who claimed that the baby powder product that he had been using for decades, gave him mesothelioma cancer.

The man, at 46, had been using talcum powder for years, but doing the math, this would seem to suggest that the man contracted his cancer much later in life, after talcum powder quality control had dramatically improved.

To date, I have not found any study conclusively pointing towards a link between using talcum powder on one’s private area, and cancer or any other type of serious illness. The original problem in talcum powder was the fact that it was often tainted with asbestos, but that problem has basically been eliminated.

If you want to worry about something however, you should perhaps look into some of the other types of common toiletries that men use.

That being said, my own personal opinion is that it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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It’s not beyond the realm of possibility in my mind that certain types of people are more prone or sensitive to talc powders than others.

Thus, while it seems that talcum powder is completely safe to use on your berries, I would advise you to simply avoid it, just to be safe.

Talc Powder’s Links to Ovarian Cancer in Women

Where is where things get murky?

While talc powder is entirely healthy and does not pose any risk whatsoever in men, the same hasn’t been shown to apply towards women. ​

The problem here, is that there have been conflicting studies.

Some studies have shown no link, and some studies have shown a slight increase in the risk of ovarian cancer in women.

​What is thought to happen is that talc powder applied to the private area sometimes enters through a woman’s private area and up the fallopian tubes to adversely affect a woman’s ovaries.

  • The US Centers for Disease Control has not listed any link between talc usage in women and ovarian cancer.
  • A 2014 study done by the US National Institute of Health found no link between talc usage and ovarian cancer.
  • A 2009 study done by Harvard also found no link between prolonged talc usage and ovarian cancer.
  • A 2003 meta-analysis done by the US National Library of Medicine showed a “33% increased risk of ovarian cancer” in women who used talc powder for better hygienic purposes.

To date, there have been no studies which have conclusively proven a link between talc powder usage and increased rates of ovarian cancer.

Should You Quit Talc Just To Be Safe?

For males, there is simply no need, however I would still recommend cornstarch-based and non-talc based products regardless.

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Talc is safe to use, and you can apply it as liberally as you like. However, I strongly believe that when it comes to your health (and especially your boys), you need to take every precaution you can. Better to be 100% sure about the safety and trustworthiness of something, than not to be.

For women, you might want to use a non-talc alternative, if you are at all concerned about any increased risk of ovarian cancer in the future.

The good news is that there are several great non-talc alternatives on the market that work almost as good as talc itself.

Most of these products’ main ingredient is cornstarch, which is completely safe to use.

The only real downside to cornstarch is that…​

  • Cornstarch based powders don’t typically last as long as talc based.
  • Cornstarch based powders often times don’t soak up as much moisture as talc based.

However, cornstarch based powders are still very good at doing the job that regular talcs do. The only difference is that a talc based powder will go “that extra 10-15%.”

To summarize everything:

  • There have been no definitive studies to date that have linked persistent, continual use of talcum powder to cancer or other fatal illnesses in men. For women, there is somewhat of a link between talcum powder use and ovarian cancer.
  • Due to much better quality control, asbestos has been removed from talcum powder for decades.
  • I would advise men to simply use a cornstarch or non-talcum body powder for hygiene purposes instead, as it is almost as good as talcum, and 100% safe.


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