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Talc

Talc

Overview:

Most people are familiar with the mineral talc. It can be crushed into a white powder that is widely known as “talcum powder”. This powder has the ability to absorb moisture, oils and odor, serve as a lubricant and produce an astringent effect with human skin. These properties make talc powder an important ingredient in many baby powders, foot powders, first aid powders and a variety of cosmetics. Talc is usually green, white, gray, brown or colorless. Talc is a translucent mineral with a pearly luster. Talc is the softest known mineral and is assigned a hardness of 1 (as compared to a diamond’s hardness of 10) on the Mohs Hardness scale.1

Talc has a variety of other uses as well. Of the total talc consumed during 2011 in the United States, 26% of the talc was used in the manufacturing of plastics, 17% of the talc consumed was used in the manufacturing of ceramic products such as bathroom fixtures, ceramic tile, pottery and dinnerware, while both the paint and the paper industries each consumed16% of the talc produced. Also in 2011, about 7% of the talc consumed in the United States was used to make cosmetics and antiperspirants.2

More recently, talc has come under some scrutiny as a possible carcinogen.3

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