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Is Talc found in cosmetics dangerous?

In light of all of the negative information now coming out about J&J (Johnson & Johnson) “a family company,” I thought it would be a good time to discuss why talc is so controversial. Firstly, what is talc? Talc is the softest mineral on earth and is used in a wide range of everyday products and cosmetics such as baby powder.

To give you a quick history on J&J, after several law suits against them, they have awarded $70 million to one woman who developed ovarian cancer from years of using J&J baby powder. Two other similar law suits followed, one awarding $55 million to a woman who survived ovarian cancer and another who was awarded $72 million to the family of a woman who actually died from ovarian cancer. J&J we’re also discovered to have known that their products contained asbestos sine the 1970’s and decided to sell their products to the public regardless. This has left the public questioning what other ingredients might be in their other products that they haven't told us about. And, if you haven’t noticed lately, superstores right here in Australia have been heavily discounting Johnson & Johnson’s famous baby powder in light of more recent media reports in a bid to ditch the product.


Why is there asbestos in talc? Talc often forms geologically in areas alongside asbestos. Asbestos is another natural element, which has been proven for decades to cause cancer (more famously ovarian cancer in women or lung cancer in miners.)  Not every deposit of talc necessarily contains asbestos, according to some reports. Today, some experts are advising that talc is perfectly safe while others agree that there is no deposit of talc on earth that can be guaranteed 100% free from asbestos. For this reason, if you have concerns, it’s best to avoid it whenever possible. Talc is commonly the main ingredient in a lot of eye shadows, powdered mineral foundations, blushes, hair products, medicated powders, lipstick, mascara and perfumed powders. It’s also still found in baby powders from companies such as Nivea, Estee Lauder and of course J&J.



If you want the opinion of The Cancer Council of Australia, their website states the following, “Asbestos free talc, such as that found in modern talcum powder has been suggested to increase the risk of ovarian cancer in women who apply talcum powder regularly in the genital area. Several studies in women have looked at the possible link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer, with mixed findings.”


Personally, I don’t need “mixed findings” to put powder on my face or body, or that of my son’s, that contains an ingredient that may or may not one-day cause cancer.


How do you avoid talc?

Go now, seriously, turn your favourite eyeshadow over and read the ingredients. Does it say talc? If there are no ingredients listed and you have to google them, that’s not good. It’s better for a company to at least be transparent about their ingredients than to try and hide them. If you’re seriously concerned about talc and you want to avoid it, the best move is to switch all listed powdered products above to products that do not contain talc. Check the ingredients before you buy, if the ingredients aren’t listed, again, that should always be a red flag. Ask yourself, why are the ingredients not listed? Powdered products don’t generally contain long lists of ingredients, therefore any company should easily be able to fit the ingredients on the majority of product labels. Alternatively, every product here at Natural Society is free from talc AND any other toxic or even controversial ingredients used in regular cosmetics. Other names talc can go by on a label include talcum, talcum powder, talc or magnesium silicate. For talc replacement products that are also free from other harmful ingredients, check out the below.

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La Mav's Anti-ageing Mineral Foundation SPF 15+ is EXCELLENT and of course talc free. Check it out here. 

Lavera's 2 in 1 Compact Foundation. Get yours here. 

Acure's Dry Shampoo comes in blonde AND brunette. 

La Mav's Mattifying Powder, absorbs oil and sets foundation, again talc free. Check it out here. 

Black Chicken's Dry Shampoo. Completely natural and talc free. Try it today.

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