Talcum – a naturally occurring mineral, talc rock, composed of hydrated magnesium silicate that is crushed, dried and milled to a fine powder for use in cosmetics as an absorbent and bulking agent. Talc is also found in medicated and perfumed body powders. Talc may contain asbestos fibres, although cosmetic grade talc (asbestos free) is classified as ‘generally recognised as safe’. There is still a risk of possible contamination with impurities as cosmetic grade talc is non-regulated. Studies support a link between the use of talcum powder in the genital area and ovarian cancer. Talc is toxic, and may cause respiratory illness or death if inhaled. The European Union has mandated that talcum powder is not to be used in products for children under the age of three.

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