One thing you can find in every American home is talcum powder. People of every age group have used it since the early 1900s. It is made from mining, crushing, and processing a mineral called talc.
Once reduced to its powdered form, talc can absorb odors, moisture, and oil. In a commercial setting, talc is an excellent lubricant that repels water from surfaces.
Hence, you will ideally find it in baby powders, medicine, and paint. Even the famous makeup brand, Revlon, has listed talc as one of the ingredients in their products.
However, the American Cancer Society has linked processed talcum powder to serious health issues in the cosmetic industry. Examples include cancer, pneumonia, etc. Read on to know more about what is going on with talc, its benefits, and alternatives.
The Benefits of Talc in Various Industries
In April 2023, Globe News Wire suggested that the global talc market was worth USD 2.62 Billion. By 2028, the industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.8%. However, the popularity is not only due to the cosmetic industry.
Instead, the use of talc increased in the manufacturing, automotive, and healthcare industry. The benefits include the following in different sectors:
- Cosmetic Industry: The powder absorbs sweat and keeps your skin dry. Moreover, it acts as a dry shampoo and can thicken eyelashes. It can also relieve rashes, itches, and chafing.
- Healthcare Industry: The smooth texture of talc acts as a lubricant layered on pills for easy swallowing. It prevents adhesion between the mold and the capsules. Furthermore, talc can be a water-repellent in medicine due to its hydrophobic nature.
- Manufacturing Industry: The lamellar layered texture of talc strengthens the paint coating, which enhances adhesion. Consequently, it creates a uniform, water-repellent layer with UV protection.
The Talcum Powder Lawsuit That Shook the World
In 2018, a report by Reuters exposed Johnson & Johnson (J&J), a leading manufacturer of healthcare products. The report stated that the company knew about silicate minerals in their talcum powder for decades.
Although J&J denied this claim, Reuter examined internal documents that questioned the purity and safety of their product. About one billion consumers worldwide were taken aback by the claims that most J&J powder products contained carcinogenic asbestos.
Parents trusted the brand, but the brand hid its findings from the customers. Yes, J&J knew that their baby powder used processed talcum which contained asbestos.
What Happened Next?
Backed by proof, 40,000 victims filed individual talcum powder lawsuits against the company. Moreover, there is no set J&J talcum powder lawsuit deadline, so the expected USD 9 billion talcum powder settlement amount offered might increase.
TorHoerman Law states that affected individuals who used J&J talcum powder developed mesothelioma, pneumonia, and talcosis. Lung, endometrial, and ovarian cancer were also prominent side effects. TorHoerman Law states that J&J paid USD 100 million to 1,000 talc plaintiffs. In 2023, J&J announced the discontinuation of their mineral-based talcum powder.
What Are the Best Alternatives to Talcum Powder?
The Consumer Notice Organization states that Americans have used talcum powder for decades. It has become a staple in most households. Moreover, commercial usage of talc has always been at the forefront.
While the pure mineral is safe for healthcare and manufacturing, the same cannot be said about processed talcum powder.
That is why the manufacturers have presented various alternatives that do not contain carcinogenic elements:
- Cornstarch and commercial cornstarch blends as an absorbent
- Blended baking soda with cornstarch or kaolin clay for a soothing effect
- Cosmetic clay or kaolin clay for sensitive skin and chafing
- Rice starch obtained from grounded rice is cool for your skin
Furthermore, pure tapioca starch or a commercial blend will help absorb moisture and oil from the skin. If you have corn allergies, you can also use arrowroot starch as an alternative to talc products.
DIY Talcum Powder: A Herbal Remedy
Do you want to create a natural alternative to talcum powder? Then, follow this recipe.
- Pluck some fresh rose petals, dry them, and then grind them finely as per your quantity requirement.
- Add four tablespoons of arrowroot powder with fuller’s earth powder to this mixture and mix it well.
- Add one teaspoon of Camellia seed oil and three drops of Geranium essential oil. And mix it with the powder properly. Remember not to make the powder turn into a lump.
- Once done, pour it into a clean jar and store it at room temperature.
The rose powder will act as an antioxidant and keep your skin radiant. At the same time, fuller’s earth powder will improve and soften your skin tone. Camellia seed oil and Geranium essential oil will help maintain moisture levels and reduce fatigue.
The Bottom Line
Talc has various industrial and cosmetic benefits. It absorbs sweat and reduces irritation in the skin. At the same time, it acts as a lubricant in medicine and enhances paint quality.
However, Johnson & Johnson created a talcum powder containing carcinogenic elements and used it in their baby products. Hence, thousands of people in America developed health risks like cancer, mesothelioma, pneumonia, and more.
That is why the talcum powder lawsuit became so popular. Luckily, there are various alternatives. Some include tapioca powder, rice starch, cornstarch, and more.
You can also create a homemade talcum powder from rose petals, arrowroot powder, Camellia seed, and Geranium essential oil.