Bedak Bayi

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*Q. What is talc?*

A. Talc is a mineral, produced by the mining of talc rocks and then
processed by crushing, drying and milling. Processing eliminates a number of
trace minerals from the talc, but does not separate minute fibers which are
very similar to asbestos.

*Q. What kinds of consumer products contain talc?*

A. Talc is found in a wide variety of consumer products ranging from home
and garden pesticides to antacids. However, the products most widely used
and that pose the most serious health risks are body powders Talc is the
main ingredient in baby powder, medicated powders, perfumed powders and
designer perfumed body powders. Because talc is resistant to moisture, it is
also used by the pharmaceutical industry to manufacture medications and is a
listed ingredient of some antacids. Talc is the principal ingredient home
and garden pesticides and flea and tick powders. Talc is used in smaller
quantities in deodorants, chalk, crayons, textiles, soap, insulating
materials, paints, asphalt filler, paper, and in food processing.

*Q. Why is talc harmful?*

A. Talc is closely related to the potent carcinogen asbestos. Talc particles
have been shown to cause tumors in the ovaries and lungs of cancer victims.
For the last 30 years, scientists have closely scrutinized talc particles
and found dangerous similarities to asbestos. Responding to this evidence in

1973, the FDA drafted a resolution that would limit the amount of
asbestos-like fibers in cosmetic grade talc. However, no ruling has ever
been made and today, cosmetic grade talc remains non-regulated by the
federal government. This inaction ignores a 1993 National Toxicology Program
report which found that cosmetic grade talc, without any asbestos-like
fibers, caused tumors in animal subjects.1 *Clearly with or without
asbestos-like fibers, cosmetic grade talcum powder is a carcinogen*.

*Q. What kind of exposure is dangerous?*

A. Talc is toxic. Talc particles cause tumors in human ovaries and lungs.
Numerous studies have shown a strong link between frequent use of talc in
the female genital area and ovarian cancer. Talc particles are able to move
through the reproductive system and become imbedded in the lining of the
ovary. Researchers have found talc particles in ovarian tumors and have
found that women with ovarian cancer have used talcum powder in their
genital area more frequently than healthy women.2

Talc poses a health risk when exposed to the lungs. Talc miners have shown
higher rates of lung cancer and other respiratory illnesses from exposure to
industrial grade talc, which contains dangerous silica and asbestos. The
common household hazard posed by talc is inhalation of baby powder by
infants. Since the early 1980s, records show that several thousand infants
each year have died or become seriously ill following accidental inhalation
of baby powder.3

*Q. What about infants?*

A. Talc is used on babies because it absorbs unpleasant moisture. Clearly,
dusting with talcum powder endangers an infant’s lungs at the prospect of
inhalation. Exposing children to this carcinogen is unnecessary and


1. *Do not buy or use products containing talc.* It is especially important
that women not apply talc to underwear or sanitary pads.

2.* Contact your pediatrician and/or local hospital* and find out if they
have a policy regarding talc use and infants.

3. *Write to the FDA and express your concern* that a proven carcinogen has
remained unregulated while millions of people are unknowingly exposed.


1.National Toxicology Program. “Toxicology and carcinogenesis studies of
talc (GAS No 14807-96-6) in F344/N rats and B6C3F, mice (Inhalation
studies).” Technical Report Series No. 421. September 1993.

2. Harlow BL, Cramer DW, Bell DA, Welch WR. “Perineal exposure to talc and
ovarian cancer risk.” Obstetrics & Gynecology, 80: 19-26, 1992.

3. Hollinger MA. “Pulmonary toxicity of inhaled and intravenous talc.”
Toxicology Letters, 52:121-127, 1990.

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