Cancer Warning for Talcum Powder

17 02 2009

GEORGE TOWN: Be careful the next time you sprinkle yourself with talcum powder or inhale it as it has been found to cause cancers and tumours, said the Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP).

Magnesium silicate hydroxide, also commonly known as talc, is the main ingredient in baby, medicated and designer perfumed body powder.

CAP president S.M. Mohamed Idris said the latest findings from the United States suggested that women who used talcum powder were 40% more likely to suffer from ovarian cancer.

“Talc particles are capable of moving up the reproductive system and becoming embedded in the ovary lining.

“Researchers have found talc particles in ovarian tumour and they have also discovered that women with ovarian cancer used talcum powder on their genitals more frequently than healthy women,” he told a press conference at the CAP headquarters here Tuesday.

He said that researchers from Harvard Medical School in Boston studied over 3,000 women and found that those using talcum once a week had a 36% chance of getting ovarian cancer, while those using talcum daily had a 41% chance.

Talcum, Mohamed Idris added, was also a health risk when exposed to the lungs as the puffy white cloud of powder ended up being inhaled by babies.

“Talc can cause the baby’s airways to swell and lead to pneumonia, and has been linked to asthma in children. Statistics show that several thousands infants die or become seriously ill each year due to inhalation of baby powder,” he said.

He urged the Health Ministry to place a warning on products containing talc and to stop the marketing of baby powder containing talc.

“Consumers should revert to using the traditional ‘bedak sejuk,’ which is made of rice flour or powder made from corn flour,” he added. – The Star


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