You have heard that talcum powder sometimes contains asbestos, which makes it very dangerous. If you breathe the powder in, the asbestos can cause cancer — often, mesothelioma or lung cancer.
However, you already knew that asbestos was dangerous. This doesn’t surprise you. You simply decide to buy talcum powder that has already been tested and that does not contain dangerous levels of asbestos. Is that a safe way to go?
It may not be. Per the American Cancer Society, it is “less clear” if this type of asbestos-free talc can still cause cancer.
For instance, lab animals were used for a series of tests. They included hamsters, mice and rats. They were exposed to asbestos-free talcum powder, but some of them still developed tumors.
While that seems like a clear indication that talcum powder is dangerous, the ACS does warn that these types of lab tests often give the animals way more talcum powder than a person would realistically use. At these high amounts and with these small animals, do the results still mean there is a risk for you?
At the same time, even if the risk is less, do you want to take any risk at all? Some of the animals did develop tumors, and you have to take that into account, especially if talc is part of your daily routine and you think you could use it for years to come.
No matter what type of talcum powder you use, if you experience these serious adverse health effects, make sure you know what legal options you have.