Biological effects of cosmetic talc

Food Chem Toxicol. 1994 Dec;32(12):1173-84. doi: 10.1016/0278-6915(94)90135-x.


A review of the literature reveals two primary issues: (1) a weak, but not causal, association of hygienic use of cosmetic talc and ovarian cancer; (2) lung changes in animals exposed to talc aerosol concentrations that resulted in lung overload. The evidentiary weight of the most significant of the epidemiological and laboratory studies and their biological significance for human risk assessment are briefly discussed. Publications describing granulomatous lesions attributed to talc on surgical gloves, and consequences of accidental inhalation of baby powder by infants are also reviewed. The literature reviewed does not provide any convincing evidence that pure cosmetic talc, when used as intended, presents a health risk to the human consumer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cosmetics / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Gloves, Surgical
  • Granuloma / etiology
  • Humans
  • Lung / drug effects*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / chemically induced*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Pneumoconiosis / etiology*
  • Pneumonia, Aspiration / etiology
  • Powders
  • Risk Factors
  • Talc / adverse effects*


  • Cosmetics
  • Powders
  • Talc