Common Talc-Based Products
When one hears or sees the word “talc,” often “talcum powder” springs to mind. The truth is, however, that the use of talc in consumer products goes far beyond that one product.
While talc is indeed the main ingredient in talcum powder—and other powders like it—the fashion and health industries have made good use of the mineral as well.
Mined from the ore of metamorphic rock, talc is used for its anti-caking and absorbent properties. Because talc is a naturally occurring mineral found all over the world, it is abundant and affordable. Therefore, it is cost-effective for many companies who opt to use it in their products.
Safer alternatives exist, but due to talc’s natural qualities and earthly abundance, it continues to be used in numerous consumer products.
Common products that contain talc include:
- Adult body powder
- Baby powder
- Face masks
- Face powder (loose and pressed)
- Feminine hygiene products
- Foundation (liquid and powder)
- Mineral powder
Many of the above items (and others) that contain talc are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which keeps track of talc-related companies and their products.
Baby powder is perhaps the product most commonly associated with talc.
For years, Johnson & Johnson® marketed this powder alongside the slogan, “just a sprinkle a day keeps the odor away.” The advertising encouraged consumers, particularly women, to apply the talc-based product on a daily basis, which many consumers now know to be dangerous.
In a proposed settlement, Johnson & Johnson agreed in April 2023 to pay nearly $9 billion to resolve tens of thousands of lawsuits claiming its baby powder and other talc products caused cancer.
Historically, baby powder has been used to prevent rashes and, in some cases, it can be used as a hygiene product. The talc in the powder absorbs moisture and helps to reduce friction on the skin.
Baby powder that contains talc is produced by:
- Johnson & Johnson
Along with several landmark court rulings, a large body of scientific research has found that prolonged exposure to talc from baby powder can cause ovarian cancer in women.
Feminine Hygiene Powder
As with some uses of baby powder, feminine hygiene powders are produced to help eliminate odors and the growth of bacteria. Talc is often used in these products because it absorbs moisture, eliminating any odors that might result from excess moisture.
Certain hygiene powders that contain talc increase a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer because talc particles can travel through the vagina into the ovaries and cause inflammation. This inflammation may spur on tumor growth.
Shower to Shower® Powder
Shower to Shower is marketed as an adult feminine hygiene powder. It was originally made by Johnson & Johnson for years before the brand was sold to other companies.
Other companies, such as Gold Bond®, manufacture similar body powders. These kinds of body powders are used for their cooling effect, which can relieve itching, prevent chafing and absorb excess moisture. These companies make products specifically for men or women.
Makeup and Cosmetic Products
Talc is a relatively common ingredient in cosmetics due to its soft texture and anti-caking properties. Eyeshadow, foundation, lipstick and blush are just a few of the products that often include talc. It is important to recognize that not every company who produces cosmetics uses talc.
In addition, not all cosmetic products that use talc list it as an ingredient, which can make selecting safer alternatives difficult. If ever in doubt, consumers may consult the FDA’s comprehensive list of talc-containing products to see if the company in question has used talc in other products before.
Talc is used in eyeshadow to absorb moisture, prevent caking and soften the product as it is applied.
The following brands sell eyeshadow that contains talc:
- Black Radiance
As with eye shadow, talc is used in blush to prevent caking. Companies such as ULTA Beauty®, Ecco Bella®, and Physicians Formula® all offer talc-free blush.
However, companies that use talc in their blush include:
Talc is used in face powders to absorb moisture and odors and also to prevent makeup caking.
Common brands that offer talc-based face powders include:
- Black Radiance
Physicians Formula and Burt’s Bees® are a few of the companies offering talc-free face powders.
Talc is used in foundation to prevent makeup caking. Talc-free foundation is sold by companies such as Physicians Formula and Smashbox®.
The following companies, however, all sell talc-based foundation:
- Black Opal®
- Laura Mercier
Talc is used in lipstick to prevent caking and absorb moisture. Revlon is one company which uses talc in lipstick and other cosmetic products. Companies such as Red Apple Lipstick® and Shany® do not use talc in their lipstick products.
Talc is used in deodorant to both absorb moisture and reduce friction. A wide variety of natural deodorant brands avoid talc and other potentially harmful chemicals, including Burt’s Bees and Organic Essence. Common deodorant brands that use talc include Degree and some of Tom’s of Maine® products.
Magnesium silicate is the dehydrated form of talc. It is commonly used in the pharmaceutical industry to improve the powder flow inside of a tablet. Many relatively common medications use magnesium silicate, including Lyrica®, ibuprofen and even health-branded magnesium tablets such as the ones offered by Vital Nutrients.
What Are Your Legal Options?
Given the wide variety of consumer products containing talc on store shelves today, many people may wonder why the risks for talc-related ovarian and lung cancer are not higher. While many of the products noted above do contain talc, not all of these products have been associated with cases of cancer.
For there to be a high risk of talc-related cancer, exposure to talc must be prolonged and regular, meaning a person uses talc or is exposed to it daily or weekly over a series of years.
As is the case with most diseases, knowing and understanding the risk factors is absolutely key to maximizing one’s chances for a favorable outcome.
Whether you were exposed to talc on the job or through its many consumer product applications, you never expected talc to cause cancer. In fact, your lack of knowledge about the health risks associated with talc is largely due to the companies that mine talc and the manufacturers of talc-based products. These companies and manufacturers chose not to include a warning about an increased risk for lung, ovarian and other types of cancer.
Our dedicated team of medical experts and legal advocates is ready to help. Contact us today for a completely free legal consultation to see if you may be eligible for financial compensation.