The evidence about asbestos-free talc, which is still widely used, is less clear.
Researchers use 2 main types of studies to try to figure out if a substance or exposure causes cancer. Mortality from lung cancer and respiratory disease among pottery workers exposed to silica and talc.
A second found a modest increase in risk of one type of ovarian cancer.
For any individual woman, if there is an increased risk, the overall increase is likely to very be small.
Talcum powder is made from talc, a mineral made up mainly of the elements magnesium, silicon, and oxygen.
As a powder, it absorbs moisture well and helps cut down on friction, making it useful for keeping skin dry and helping to prevent rashes.
It’s not always clear if the results from these types of studies will apply to humans, but lab studies are a good way to find out if a substance might possibly cause cancer. Rosenblatt KA, Weiss NS, Cushing-Haugen KL, Wicklund KG, Rossing MA.
Many studies in women have looked at the possible link between talcum powder and cancer of the ovary. Perineal use of talcum powder and endometrial cancer risk. Talc that has asbestos is generally accepted as being able to cause cancer if it is inhaled. This type of talc is not used in modern consumer products. Public Health Service, National Toxicology Program. When working underground, miners can also be exposed to other substances that might affect lung cancer risk, such as radon. No increased risk of lung cancer has been reported with the use of cosmetic talcum powder. Mortality among workers at a talc mining and milling facility.