Health Canada finds talcum powder may cause cancer, lung damage

After an investigation, Health Canada has determined that talc — a common ingredient in baby powder, some cosmetics and household products — might be harmful to human health.

In an announcement Wednesday, the department said that it was considering measures to restrict the use of talc in cosmetics, natural health products and non-prescription drugs.


Canadian class-action alleges link between baby powder and ovarian cancer

Specifically, the government is warning that inhaling loose talc powders can damage the lungs. Using products containing talc in the female genital area, like baby powder, diaper creams and bath bombs, is a possible cause of ovarian cancer, the department said.

Health Canada’s draft assessment did not find that ingesting talc in food or drugs or using it in pressed powder cosmetics like eyeshadows and blushes was harmful.

This Health Canada assessment was a draft and is currently open to comments. The government is working on a final assessment. If the department confirms its conclusion, it will consider restricting talc’s use.

Canadians who are concerned about using talc should check their products’ ingredients and avoid loose powder or using it in the female genital area.

In July, cosmetics manufacturer Johnson & Johnson had to pay 22 women nearly $4.7 billion in a lawsuit linking baby powder to ovarian cancer, one of several recent lawsuits involving baby powder.

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