The Dangerous Link Between Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer
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One huge part of self care for women is making sure all our lady parts are in good health. Good health is paramount to how we feel, and the energy we send out. So it only makes sense that we need to pay attention also to gynecological health and findings, such as the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer.
One of the lesser known threats to women’s gynecological health is a substance called talc. This substance is mined and used in various products in a finely ground powder form. Talcum powder has some helpful properties in that it absorbs moisture and decreases friction. However, as it gained popularity in hygiene use, research has shown that it may increase the risk of cancer and specifically ovarian cancer.
Talcum Powder and Asbestos
The natural mineral form of talc is not a powder, but rather a solid crystal or fiber. It is readily found in mines and contains oxygen, hydrogen, silicon, and magnesium. Talc also happens to form in the ground alongside asbestos ore.
Asbestos and talc form in similar ways and are often found together. Because of this, talc typically contains some asbestos. Since talcum powder became common in the 1970s, ensuring that it was free of asbestos has been an important aspect. However, increasing evidence may suggest that it’s nearly impossible to make sure that talcum powder is fully free of asbestos, which means that it has a cancer-causing risk.
Talcum Powder Uses
There’s no doubt that talcum powder has a myriad of uses, and it has gotten popular through use in cosmetics and hygiene products.
Most commonly it is used in baby powder to soothe diaper rash. Medicated and deodorant powders also often contain talcum powder to absorb moisture and reduce friction from sweating.
Cosmetics like eye and face powder may also contain talcum powder to help them go on the skin smoothly. Even sanitary and incontinence pads may contain talcum powder.
The sheer large number of women’s products should give an indication of how serious the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer is becoming.
Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer
Talcum powder has been used commonly in feminine hygiene products for some time. The powder absorbs moisture and reduces odor.
In the 1970s, doctors began making the connection between ovarian tumors and the use of talcum powder in the genital region. Samples of tumors from women who used talcum powder in this area contained talc particles, thus making the link appear more than tenuous.
In 1982, another study investigated 200 women who had ovarian cancer and 200 women who did not. The group with cancer had a higher usage of talcum powder in their genital area, furthering the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. Other contrasting studies have found only a small risk of ovarian cancer for women using talcum powder near their genitals.
Other Health Issues with Talcum Powder
Genital use of talcum powder isn’t the only problem with the substance. The fine powder can also easily be inhaled and then cause lung irritation and even more serious conditions such as asthma or pneumonia. Because of this risk, the American Academy of Pediatrics does not currently recommend using talcum powder products on babies or young children.
For National Health Center Week happening in August, it’s important to be aware of everyday products that could damage health or raise the risk of serious health problems.
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