Talcum Powder Composition in Cosmetics

Cosmetics Containing Talcum Powder

The current trend for cosmetic junkies is setting powder. Setting powder is a type of cosmetic that is placed on the face with a make-up brush or sponge to lock in foundation and concealer. The setting powder is popular for its way of camouflaging fine lines or creases on the skin. What many do not know about this popular product is that it contains talcum powder.

What is Talcum Powder?

Talcum powder, or talc, is a naturally occurring mineral. Talc is found in everyday products such as baby powder, cosmetics, and food.

Talcum Powder Chemical Composition

In chemical terms, talcum powder is a hydrous magnesium silicate. Talcum powder is comprised of magnesium, silicon, oxygen, and hydrogen. The chemical formula for talc is Mg₃Si₄O₁₀(OH)₂.

Why is Talcum Powder Used in Cosmetics?

Talcum powder is used as an ingredient in cosmetics for its alleged benefits. Talcum powder in cosmetics creates a flawless effect on the skin by making facial makeup opaque, absorbing moisture, preventing build-up or “caking”, and improving the texture of the product.

Why is Talcum Powder Illegal in Canada?

According to Health Canada, talcum powder is listed as an ingredient that is prohibited for use in cosmetic products in Canada. This ingredient is used in powder-form products that are intended for infants and children and in cosmetics. A cautionary statement was issued by Health Canada pertaining to the alleged harmful effect of talcum powder. The statement warns consumers to keep the ingredient out of children’s reach and away from a child’s face to avoid inhalation. If this product is inhaled, it can cause difficulties in breathing.

Is Talcum Powder Contaminated by Asbestos Fibers?

The answer is yes. Some talcum powders may contain asbestos, a naturally occurring silicate mineral just like talc but have a different type of crystal structure. Unlike talcum powder, asbestos is listed as a known carcinogen by the United States Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep website, asbestiform fibers have been linked to talcum powder. This website has listed asbestiform fibers as a known human carcinogen due to its concern about non-reproductive organ system toxicity. The area of concern that asbestiform fibers appose is to the respiratory system.

FDA Asbestos Fibers in Cosmetics Survey 

The FDA conducted a survey with products created by cosmetic talc suppliers from September 28, 2009, to September 27, 2010. The FDA contract laboratory reached out to suppliers that were identified in the 2008 edition of the International Cosmetic Dictionary and Handbook. Two other suppliers were identified by using an online search engine. Only four out of the nine suppliers found complied with the survey request.

The FDA covered the study in a broad spectrum by identifying products for testing listed by price range from low, medium and high. The FDA selected 34 talc-containing cosmetic products for the survey. The products used in the study included:

  • blush
  • body powder
  • eye shadow
  • facial powder
  • foundation

All of these products were bought from metropolitan area retail stores of Washington D.C.

The survey did not find any traces or structures of asbestos fibers in any of the cosmetic products containing talcum powder or cosmetic-grade raw material talcum powder. The results of the study were limited due to the number of products tested and the only four out of nine talc suppliers that agreed to submit samples. The FDA did find these results to be informative, however, the conclusion of this survey did not confirm that a majority or even all of the cosmetic products that contain talc sold in the United States today to be asbestos-free.

Are Your Cosmetics Making You Sick?

When shopping for cosmetics, be sure to always read the product ingredient label. Some ingredients used in cosmetics may cause harm to some of its consumers. If you find that certain cosmetic products are affecting the biology of your skin, it’s time to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist. A dermatologist is a doctor that specializes in the treatment of hair, mucous membranes, nails, and skin. A visit to your local dermatologist can assist you by choosing products that are found suitable for your unique skin type. A dermatologist may also help you by offering you a list of ingredients that are found in cosmetic products that may lead to dermatological injuries through extended use.

Similar Content by Edward Smith:

Sacramento Talcum Powder Injury Attorney

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento talcum powder injury attorney. If you or a member in your family has been diagnosed with an illness due to the use of talcum powder products, please contact me at (916) 921-6400 or toll-free at (800) 404-5400.

I am a trial lawyer in the California section of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. This forum is comprised of top United States trial attorneys that have settled multiple million-dollar case verdicts and settlements.

See my list of  Verdicts & Settlements.

Reviews written by clients and my fellow peers are posted on YelpAvvo, and Google.

I am the founder of AutoAccident.com, the most informative personal injury database in Northern California.

Information Attribution for Cosmetics Containing Talcum Powder:

  • http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductsIngredients/Ingredients/ucm293184.htm
  • http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/
  • http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/

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