Talcum powder has been in household-use for generations. One of the most common applications for talcum powder has been as baby powder, but in recent years the safety of this product has come up for debate. In general, it is safe to use talcum powder on babies, but it should not be used on adolescent boys due to the risk of testicular mesothelioma.
Studies have shown that pure talcum powder is safe to use. The problem is talcum powder can be impure and contaminated by asbestos, which can make it potentially quite dangerous.
Talc and Asbestos
Talcum powder comes from the naturally occurring mineral talc, which can commonly be found in the earth near deposits of asbestos. The talc can become contaminated by asbestos during mining and processing. Talc is a clay mineral used in a variety of products. Aside from baby powder, it is an ingredient in paint, ceramics, cosmetics, and several other items.
Asbestos is composed of soft fibers that are resistant to heat, electricity, and corrosion. This quality made it ideal as an insulator, and it was commonly used as a construction material as well as in many other products for years before the harmful effects of this toxic material were fully understood.
Asbestos fibers, especially when inhaled, can cause all sorts of damage to the body. If exposed to these fibers, humans can become susceptible to asbestosis as well as a deadly form of cancer called mesothelioma. It can also cause other health complications.
Mesothelioma is a rare and highly aggressive form of cancer that is caused almost exclusively by asbestos. There are four different types of mesothelioma:
- Pleural mesothelioma
- Peritoneal mesothelioma
- Pericardial mesothelioma
- Testicular mesothelioma
Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type, and it affects the lungs and surrounding area. It is caused by inhalation of asbestos fibers into the lungs. Common symptoms include chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath, lumps under the skin, and weight loss.
This is the second most common type of mesothelioma, and it affects the abdomen and the lining of many organs. Common symptoms include abdominal pain and swelling, weight loss, and nausea.
A rare type of the disease, pericardial mesothelioma affects the heart and the surrounding area of the chest. Common symptoms include chest pain and difficulty breathing.
Another rare form of the disease is testicular mesothelioma, which affects the lining around the testes. Common symptoms include swelling of the testicle or a mass forming around the testicle. If you have developed testicular mesothelioma from using baby powder, follow this link to seek a free legal consultation from experienced mesothelioma lawyers.
Exactly How Dangerous Is Talcum Powder?
There is much debate as to the severity of risk involving talcum powder. Some claim it to be completely safe, saying that it is now completely free of asbestos. However, many people don’t buy that claim, especially in situations where someone has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, but there is no direct link to contact with asbestos that can be established.
If using talcum powder that has been contaminated by asbestos, then the risks are quite high. Since, the most common form of mesothelioma is pleural mesothelioma, which is caused by inhaling asbestos through the lungs, using a powder with easily inhaled particles can put you at a very high risk of developing this illness.
Who Is Most at Risk?
Asbestos can be very dangerous for anyone, but there are factors that make the risks vary somewhat by age. While asbestos can be incredibly harmful to the body, the effects take quite a while to develop, and symptoms don’t usually begin to appear until 10 to 50 years after exposure. Therefore, the risk of asbestos exposure to the elderly is generally lower than the risk of exposure to younger people. In older people, the chances are lower that they will live long enough to see the negative effects.
Testicular mesothelioma is only a risk to males, and it is also far more of a concern when using talcum powder after puberty than it is for infants and young boys, since until the testicles have descended, they are unlikely to be exposed by use of talcum powder.
Should I Stop Using Talcum Powder?
With debate still open about whether talcum powder continues to contain asbestos or not, its continued use is up to each individual’s own discretion. However, when it comes to your health or the health of your child, it is often better to err on the side of caution.
There are several alternatives to talcum powder available such as cornstarch, tapioca starch, arrowroot starch, cosmetic clay, oat flour, and baking soda. If you want a risk free powder experience, give one or more of these products a try until you find an option that works for you.