Safety Assessment of Talc as Used in Cosmetics

Int J Toxicol. 2015 Jul-Aug;34(1 Suppl):66S-129S. doi: 10.1177/1091581815586797.


The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel (Panel) assessed the safety of talc for use in cosmetics. The safety of talc has been the subject of much debate through the years, partly because the relationship between talc and asbestos is commonly misunderstood. Industry specifications state that cosmetic-grade talc must contain no detectable fibrous, asbestos minerals. Therefore, the large amount of available animal and clinical data the Panel relied on in assessing the safety of talc only included those studies on talc that did not contain asbestos. The Panel concluded that talc is safe for use in cosmetics in the present practices of use and concentration (some cosmetic products are entirely composed of talc). Talc should not be applied to the skin when the epidermal barrier is missing or significantly disrupted.

Keywords: cosmetics; safety; talc.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinogenicity Tests
  • Consumer Product Safety*
  • Cosmetics / toxicity*
  • Humans
  • Irritants / toxicity
  • Occupational Exposure
  • Reproduction / drug effects
  • Talc / chemistry
  • Talc / pharmacokinetics
  • Talc / toxicity*


  • Cosmetics
  • Irritants
  • Talc