Talcum powder is not the only source of talc. Rather, talc is a primary component of more products than you can imagine. Learn about the commonly used personal items that contain talc here, and how you can avoid it by using their natural alternatives.
With the alarming number of lawsuits filed against “talcum powders” and the science proving it to be the source of various types of cancer, there is a lot of concern and questions about the harmful effects of talc on health. Talc has numerous physical properties that make it significant to be used in several industries. For centuries, it has been used in a range of industries such as cosmetics, textile, automobile, construction, food, etc. Talcum powder is not the only source of talc. It is found all around, in more products than you can imagine.Here you will get to know the answers to the most inquisitive common questions about talc and will surely be amazed (or rather shocked) to know about the personal items that are used every day, containing talc as a primary ingredient.
What Is Talc and Why Is It Used In Different Products?
Talc is a naturally occurring mineral and is chemically known as hydrous magnesium silicate. After mining, talc is crushed and ground into refined powder form. It is smooth soft, fragrant and can perfectly absorb the moisture, thus perfect to be used in cosmetics and personal care products. Talc is fire and heat resistant and can absorb noise so is perfect to be used in construction materials and automotive industry. Talc is also a great anti-caking agent and gives shine, thus great to be used in food, and dietary supplements. Knowing that, and it’s affordable rates, talc is used in almost every industry for over a century.
Where You Can Find Talc Containing Products Around You?
Talc fibers are used extensively in a range of industries because of its broad list of physical properties and availability in bulk amounts in cheap rates. You can spot it in cosmetics, personal care products, household products, food items, vitamin supplements, construction products, paints, automotive, garments, and in several other industrial products.It is astonishing to find the same ingredient in paints and construction products to be used in the food and dietary supplements. But talc minerals have been used and are still continuing to be used in food, cosmetics, and several other products.
Presence of Talc in Cosmetics and Personal Care Products
Talc is commonly used in makeup and personal care products. It is found in the following cosmetics that are used on a regular basis:
- Baby Powders
- Face Powders
- Eye Shadows
- Face Masks
- Shower Products
Which Makeup Brands Do Use Talc in Their Products?
Talc is quite commonly found in cosmetics and personal care products. A wide range of makeup brands, whether drugstore or high-end, use talc as an essential ingredient in their products, There are literally thousands of products which contain talc including foundation, finishing powder, blush, eye shadow, liquid makeup, lipstick, eyeliner, concealers, and several others, The following leading brands that currently use talc in their cosmetics:
A whopping 243 products of this brand contain talc. These Include eyeliners, BB cream, Bronzer, highlighter, foundation, primer, eye shadow, blush, mascara, concealer, facial powder, and anti-aging foundation from its different collections.
Almay has produced 30 different beauty products that have talc mineral. These products include foundation, makeup with SPF, bronzers, highlighters, facial powders, concealers, and deodorants.
From Revlon, 31 beauty products are found to have talc fibers including eyeliner, eye shadow, blush, facial powder, mascara, bronzer, highlighter, and other powdered products.
Maybelline by L’Oreal
About 108 beauty products from Maybelline contain talc fibers. These products include facial
powders, foundations, blush, brow liners, eyeliner, oil controllers and eyeliner.
The newly launched and very hyped makeup brand by Rihanna, Fenty beauty has also made it to the list with the inclusion of talc fibers in its 63 products. These products include foundation, facial powder, concealer, eye shadow, highlighters, and bronzers.
Too Faced by Estée Lauder
From Too faced brand, 98 products are found to have talc fibers, these include mascara, eye shadows, lipsticks, primer, concealer, brow liner, bronzer, highlighter, and others.
Why Is Talc Used Excessively in Makeup and Personal Care Products?
Talc naturally contains numerous properties making it highly beneficial to use in the cosmetics and personal care industry. Such as it absorbs oil and moisture from the skin and makes the skin look smooth, and fresh. It also reduces dryness from the skin thus help in reducing irritation and itchiness.
Talc is widely used in hair dyes, and other color cosmetics as it can absorb oils, and can provide a natural shine. Plus, it is durable and enhances the shelf life of the products.
Following properties of talc make it’s favourable to use in the cosmetics industry:
- It is used as an anti-caking agent in foundations, facial powders, bronzers, and highlighters.
- In various cosmetics, talc functions as a non-reactive filler.
- Talc absorbs moisture from the skin.
- It makes makeup look opaque.
- Talc enhances smoothness and softness of the product as well as of skin.
- It has an antiperspirant effect.
- It imparts natural shine on skin and hair.
Which Baby Powders Contain Talc As Primary Ingredient?
Talcum powder is defined by the American Cancer Society as
Talcum powder is made from talc, a mineral made up mainly of the elements magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. As a powder, it absorbs moisture well and helps cut down on friction, making it useful for keeping skin dry and helping to prevent rashes.
Talking about talcum powder in personal care products, Johnson and Johnson’s is not the only brand that is contaminated with asbestos-containing talc. Though J&J has become notorious in this regard since its talcum powder is this brand’s signature product and they knew about the carcinogenic effects of this mineral for decades, but there are other baby powder producing brands which also contain talc. These brands include:
- Johnson’s Baby Powder
- Jean Nate Silkening Body Powder
- Show to Shower Body Powder
- Gold Bond Body Powder
- Studio 35 Body Powder
- Nivea Pure Talc
Do Food Items Also Contain Talc?
Talc is commonly added in pharmaceuticals and in a wide range of food products. Following are the most generally used foods that contain talc fibers and you’ll most likely be surprised to know!
- Bakery items
- Powdered Dried Foods
- Sausage skins
- Table Salt
- Chewing Gum
- Dietary Supplements
Inclusion of talc fibers in food was considered inert as it passes through the digestive tract unchanged. But Dr. Jos Rooijackers presented at the European Respiratory Society’s (ERS) International Congress on 28th September 2015 regarding the deleterious effects caused by the inhalation of talc on the pulmonary tract. Dr. Rooijackers warned about the occupational exposure of talc saying,
“Although talcosis is a well-known health effect of talc inhalation in such industries as mining, the risk was not recognized by the company, since talc is considered to be a harmless food additive and safe overall, As soon as an employee was diagnosed with talcosis caused by occupational exposure the company became concerned about the health risks to its employees posed by talc use.”
Why Talc is Added in the Food Products?
Talc is used in the food industry,
- As an anti-caking agent in food supplements and vitamins.
- To improve the texture and shine of rice.
- As a separating agent in different bakery items, dried powdered foods, and seasonings.
- As a colorant or color carrier.
What Are the Safe and Natural Alternatives of Talc?
Knowing the carcinogenic effects of asbestos-contaminated talc fibers in the talcum powder, it is wise to switch to some natural alternatives. Following are 4 natural alternatives to talc that will give you similar softness, freshness, and comfortable feeling, without any potential health risks.
Easily available in every household, cornstarch is an excellent alternative of talcum powder, fulfilling all the characteristics of talc excluding any known harms. Corn starch has the same consistency and can absorb moisture with the same efficacy as well. As several scientific research has shown the chances of the development of ovarian cancer and other life-threatening diseases with the excessive use of asbestos-contaminated talc since the 1970s, cornstarch was recommended by the American Cancer Society as the best possible alternative of the mineral talc. The press release quoted Dr. Stephen Pennisi, vice president of product safety at Combe Incorporated and toxicologist, “Since cornstarch is derived from corn and that’s food, our body has natural enzymes to break it down rather easily, whereas talc, which is a mineral and not normally found in the body, cannot be broken down by the body.” Else you can purchase baby powders that have used cornstarch as the basic ingredient and are treated with the refreshing benefits of aloe vera.
You may only be familiar to about a 100 uses of baking soda, here you get another one. This common kitchen item can also be used in place of talcum powder. A lot of people use baking soda as an antiperspirant and apply it on their underarms every morning. This inexpensive deodorant has a smooth feel. So, it is wise to keep it in the bathroom, in your bag, and surely in the kitchen.
Tapioca Starch or Arrowroot Starch
Arrowroot powder or starch is commonly used in the clothing industry to give a crisp texture to the newly made fabric. It is derived from the South American tropical plants and can be used as a natural alternative to mineral talc. While the tapioca starch is basically the crushed powder of South American Cassava plant. Both of these powders are used in place of flour and cornstarch in different baking recipes. These are gluten-free, all-natural alternatives of talc, which you may find a bit more expensive than others.
Oat flour is a little coarser or granular in comparison with the above-mentioned powders. But has the same properties and can easily be used in place of talc.
There you have it! All of the above-mentioned products are usually used by all of us in routine. And we remain unaware of the fact that we are being exposed to carcinogenic substance excessively. The main problem lies in the late latency period. As the asbestos fibers in the talc mineral get deposited in our body and can take decades to show harmful effects. Ban of talc in personal care, and food products is the need of time and lawmakers must rush to devise this ban. Nonetheless, what you can do is to avoid using talc-containing products as much as possible. Look for “asbestos free” or “talc free” caption on the label before buying these products, and search for brands which deal with talc free products to be on the safe side.
For Infographics: In Which Industries Talc Is Used?
- Agriculture and Food
- Personal Care
- Waste Treatment
- The white powdery coating on candies and chewing is actually talc that prevent it from sticking with its wrapper.
- The market value of superfine talc is expected to reach $1.1 billion within 5 years (2019-2024).