Talc poses health risk in forms like baby powder, bath bombs: Health Canada

While some forms of talc do not pose a health risk, other popular uses like in bubble baths, baby powder and bath bombs carry a risk of causing ovarian cancer, a government assessment found.

Researchers from Health Canada as well as from Environment and Climate Change Canada released on Thursday the final results of a screening assessment into the safety of talc products, launched in 2018.

The conclusion: avoid using products containing talc in loose powder form, and avoid using products containing talc in the female genital area.

READ MORE: Woman with cancer awarded $29M in Johnson and Johnson talcum powder suit

“The final screening assessment, based on the latest scientific evidence, concludes that certain uses of talc may be harmful to human health,” reads a press release issued by health officials.

The screening flagged two areas of concern: the potential for inhaling talc particles when using products like baby powder, body powder and loose face powder, which carries a risk of lung damage; and potential risks when talc-containing products are used in certain self-care products for women.

These products include body powder, baby powder, diaper and rash creams, genital antiperspirants and deodorants, body wipes, bath bombs and bubble bath products.

There is no evidence suggesting talc poses a risk if ingested or used on top of the skin through products like pressed powder makeup, officials said.

Canadians are being advised to check the ingredient lists on products they are using, and to avoid using products containing loose talc that can be inhaled or that is intended for use around the female genitals.

Using the products around the female genitals is associated with a risk of ovarian cancer.

READ MORE: Can talcum powder cause ovarian cancer?

“Canadians concerned about current or previous use of products containing talc should also consult their health-care professional,” the statement added.

The safety of talc has been in the spotlight in recent years because of several lawsuits that linked use of baby powder with individuals who later developed ovarian cancer.

Johnson & Johnson has paid out roughly $5 billion in legal settlements since 2016 to individuals who say they developed cancer after using baby powder routinely for personal hygiene.

READ MORE: Johnson & Johnson to pay $417 million in lawsuit linking talcum powder to cancer

Health Canada’s draft assessment issued in 2018 suggested a link was likely.

Officials are now looking to adjust some of the product monographs for products containing talc, and reduce exposure to those products.

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