Every once in a while comes a news that makes us look at things and worry if all this time we have been doing more harm than good. One such news doing rounds is where Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay millions for losing their talcum powder lawsuit. In case you haven’t heard, it’s where J & J baby powder was held responsible for people suffering from ovarian cancer after a prolonged use and hence they were ordered to pay the damages.
This gave birth to Talc-ummm? Should we use it or ditch it? The obvious course of action was to dissect the talcum and look at the ingredients causing an issue. The core ingredient is – talc which is a mineral known to absorb moisture well and hence used in cosmetics to keep one feeling dry and fresh. Now all that seems fine, where is the issue in that?
Well, the concern is in its natural form, talc contains asbestos. Which is another group of mineral and occurs as a bundle of fibers with many advantages but a major disadvantage. It is known to be Carcinogenic(known to cause cancer or increase the risk of cancer). Studies conducted have revealed that long exposure to asbestos in form of inhaling, consuming, results in an increased risk of lung cancer, Mesothelioma, and in some cases Ovarian and Larynx Cancer.
Many reputed agencies whose sole mission is to conduct researches and experiment to find out what may cause cancer in humans and everything to do with it, consider Asbestos cancerous, namely International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), National Toxicology Program (NTP). Now the thing to consider is that many a talcum powders now are asbestos free, so does that mean it is ok? well, to be honest, they aren’t sure. So is talc also carcinogenic, to quote IARC who label it as ‘possibly carcinogenic’, it just might be!
Yet instead of getting scared into believing it, let’s look at the facts rationally. Till date, many studies (human and lab) have been conducted to find if the perineal use of talc in the genital area may cause ovarian cancer. However, so far the conclusion or the findings have been inconsistent and inconclusive. Some suggest a link whereas others have found nothing. Another important factor to consider is that many other factors affect these studies as well.
Conclusion: In reality, we need more conclusive proven results to move from possibly to definitely category. Till then talc is your prerogative. It is considered that when applied on genitals it may travel to ovary through fallopian tubes and result in cancer, but only after a prolonged use. So the prolonged factor is to be looked at, if you don’t want to avoid using it but are still dicey on the verdict of powder, then use it moderately and preferably not in the sensitive areas. If you still feel heavy about the light powder, then you may use a powder that substitutes talc with cornstarch.
In the end, everything has positives and negatives, what you need to decide is to which end does your scale bows.