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Baby Powder made from cosmetic talc is one of JOHNSON’S® oldest products and a longtime part of baby care rituals. JOHNSON’S® Baby Powder continues to be popular with adults as well, and in many parts of the world, it remains an essential part of makeup and skin care routines. Talc is also used in toothpaste, chewing gum, aspirin, and other consumer products. With over 100 years of use, few ingredients have the same demonstrated performance, mildness and safety profile as cosmetic talc.
Any amount of talc used in a consumer product is required to be asbestos-free and has been since the 1970s -- though misperceptions still exist that talc products contain asbestos, a substance with links to cancer. JOHNSON’S® Baby Powder products contain only U.S. Pharmacopeial (USP) grade talc which meets the highest quality, purity and compliance standards. The talc used in all our global products is carefully selected and processed to be asbestos-free, and we confirm this with regular testing. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also tested and confirmed the purity of our talc.1
Joan Casalvieri, Ph.D., Director of Toxicology, Skincare,
Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc.
“As a toxicologist in our Consumer business, my job is to make certain a product is safe by assessing whether any ingredient in that product poses a risk. We want to assure women and caregivers who use our talc products that numerous studies support its safety, and these include assessments by external experts in addition to our company testing. Many research papers and epidemiology studies have specifically evaluated talc and perineal use and these studies have found talc to be safe. For example, the Nurses’ Health Study (2010)2 and the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Cohort (2014)3 are two large-scale prospective studies looking at talc and ovarian cancer. Both found no causal relationship between talc and ovarian cancer.”
Another misperception is that talc in baby powder can be easily inhaled or absorbed into the body. We always recommend not using talc around a baby’s face or mouth, and to further protect your baby, we precisely mill our JOHNSON’S talc products to a relatively large size to decrease the potential to be inhaled or absorbed into the body.
Decades of Safety
Our confidence in using talc reflects more than 30 years of research by independent scientists, review boards and global authorities, which have concluded that talc can be used safely in personal care products. Various government agencies and other bodies also have examined talc to determine the potential for any safety risks, and none have concluded that there are safety risks. In fact, no regulatory agency has ever required a change in labeling to reflect any safety risk from talc powder products.
As an ingredient that is popular around the globe, many countries have approved the use of talc, among them the United States, those in the European Union, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Israel, South Africa, Turkey, and Indonesia.
Cosmetic talc is not included in the most recent Report on Carcinogens, which is published by the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP). NTP is a globally-recognized program and is formed from parts of several different government agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In addition to government health authorities, our own toxicology teams are also responsible for evaluating any new research published on talc, and at times we may ask outside experts for an independent perspective on new or existing studies. We have carefully assessed all available data on talc and consumers can feel confident that the overwhelming body of research and clinical evidence continues to support the safety of cosmetic talc.
For more about how our toxicology testing works, click here: https://youtu.be/WXvC2S0LsaI
Our Position on Talc
At Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc., our confidence in using talc is based on a long history of safe use and more than 30 years of research by independent researchers, scientific review boards and global regulatory authorities. Various agencies and governmental bodies have examined whether talc is a carcinogen, and none have concluded that it is. With over 100 years of use, few ingredients have the same demonstrated performance, mildness and safety profile as cosmetic talc.
References and Resources:
1 U.S Food and Drug Administration
2 Gertig, Prospective Study of Talc Use and Ovarian Cancer, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Nurses Health Study
3 Neill, Use of talcum powder and endometrial cancer risk, Cancer Causes and Control
4 National Toxicology Program
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Center for Disease Control
National Toxicology Program https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/pressctr/frn/2005/70frn200roc20051018_508.pdf
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
National Toxicology Program
Research Studies & Reviews:
Muscat, Perineal talc use and ovarian cancer risk: a case study of scientific standards in environmental epidemiology, European Journal of Cancer Prevention
Gertig, Prospective Study of Talc Use and Ovarian Cancer, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Nurses Health Study
Neil, Use of talcum powder and endometrial cancer risk, Cancer Causes & Control, March 2012, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 513-519
Cosmetic Ingredient Review
Houghton, Perineal powder use and risk of ovarian cancer. JNCI J Natl Inst 2014; 106(9).
Cancer Research UK