What Is Talc?

Talcum Powder Lawsuit Helpline is always seeking articles we believe will be of interest to our readers.  Talcum Powder  products causing ovarian cancer have resulted in an onslaught of lawsuits across the country. Talcum Powder is made from Talc. But, what exactly is Talc?
Talc is a hydrous magnesium silicate mineral with a chemical composition of Mg3Si4O10(OH)2. If you are not a chemist you probably have no idea what that means. In lay terms, Talcum powder is made from talc. Talc is a mineral made up of  magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. Talc is usually green, white, gray, brown, or colorless. It is a translucent mineral with a pearly luster.

About Talc In the US

The United States is self-sufficient for most types of talc used in manufacturing. Estimated 2011 production was 615,000 metric tons with a value of about $20 million. Three companies in the United States account for nearly 100% of the country’s production.

How Does Talc Form?
Talc is a mineral that is most often found in the metamorphic rocks of convergent plate boundaries. It forms from at least two processes. Most large talc deposits in the United States formed when heated waters carrying dissolved magnesium and silica reacted with dolomitic marbles. A second process of talc formation occurred when heat and chemically active fluids altered rocks such as dunite and serpentinite into talc.
Talc Mining In The US
Most talc in the United States is produced from an open pit mine where the rock is drilled, blasted, and partially crushed in the mining operation. The highest grade ores are produced by selective mining and sorting operations.

Great care is taken during the mining process to avoid contaminating the talc with other rock materials. These other materials can have an adverse effect on the color of the product. Contamination can introduce hard particles that cause problems in applications where talc is being used because of its softness or lubricating properties.

Partially crushed rock is taken from the mine to a mill, where it is further reduced in particle size. Impurities are sometimes removed by froth flotation or mechanical processing. The mills produce crushed or finely ground talc that meets customer requirements for particle size, brightness, composition, and other properties.
Uses of Talc: Talc is used as a filler, coating, pigment, dusting agent and extender in plastics, ceramics, paint, paper, cosmetics, roofing, rubber and many other products.

Talc Information

U.S. Talc — Baby Powder and Much More: U.S. Geological Survey, Fact Sheet FS-065-00, September 2000.

Talc in Cosmetics: United States Food and Drug Administration, website article, last accessed August 2016.

Use Of Talc in Cosmetics and Antiperspirants
Finely ground talc is used as the powder base of many cosmetic products. The tiny platelets of a talc powder readily adhere to the skin but can be washed off easily. Talc’s softness allows it to be applied and removed without causing skin abrasion.

Talc also has the ability to absorb oils and perspiration produced by human skin. The ability of talc to absorb moisture, absorb odor, adhere to the skin, serve as a lubricant, and produce an astringent effect in contact with human skin make it an important ingredient in many antiperspirants. In 2011, about 7% of the talc consumed in the United States was used to make cosmetics and antiperspirant.

Talc and asbestos occur naturally and may occur in close proximity in some metamorphic rocks. Studies published in the 1960s and 1970s identified health concerns about the use of talc that contains asbestos in some cosmetic products.

According to the FDA, “These studies have not conclusively demonstrated such a link, or if such a link existed, what risk factors might be involved.” To address these concerns, talc mining sites are now carefully selected and ores are carefully processed to avoid the presence of asbestos in talc destined for use in the cosmetics industry.

Talc used in Talcum powder has been associated with the development of ovarian cancer due to inflammation