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We all need to take care with talc.

Byline: dr miriam stoppard Keeping you fit and healthy

AS A dermatologist, I've never been keen on talcum powder.

It can accumulate in skin creases, causing irritation, and its particles can act as an abrasive.

I'm even less happy using talcum powder on babies, whose delicate skin is much more vulnerable to damage.

There was a scare a few decades back that linked talcum powder granules to ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.

Then, in 1991, scientists discovered particles of talc embedded in ovarian and cervical cancers.

A report linked the use of talc on genitals with a 44 per cent increase in invasive ovarian cancer.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2006 classified talcum powder as a possible human carcinogen if used in the female genital area.

Talc is a naturally occurring clay mineral composed of magnesium and silicon.

Known for its softness, it's used in cosmetic products, such as blush, because it absorbs moisture and prevents caking. It's also an additive in tablets, chewing gum and some rice.

Talc is often mined in proximity to asbestos, a known carcinogen, and manufacturers have to take steps to avoid contamination.

Many women use the powder on their inner thighs to prevent chafing, while others sprinkle it on their underwear to stay fresh.

Studies have shown that talc crystals can move up the genitourinary tract into the peritoneal cavity, where the ovaries are.

Why talc use might lead to cancer is not clear. But talc particles can set off inflammation, which plays a big role in the development of ovarian cancer.

Paediatricians also discourage the use of talc on babies, who can become ill or even die after breathing in the particles.

You have been warned.


WARNINGS Talcum powder

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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 2, 2016
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