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Health Canada Possibly Restricting Talc in Beauty Products

Woman applying eyeshadow to another woman

The Canadian government recently assessed the risk management of talc, and is now considering proposing measures to restrict the ingredient in cosmetics, natural health products and non-prescription drugs that may be inhaled or absorbed in certain areas of the body.

Talc, also known as hydrated magnesium silicate, is the clay mineral often found in powdered form in beauty products such as baby powder and other cosmetics (think: foundation, pressed powder, blush and eyeshadow). It is a natural mineral that is mined in many countries, and can also be used in other products such as paper, plastics, paint, ceramics, putties and drugs. In Canada, it is also a permitted food additive in a small number of foods. Talc is often not considered dangerous unless it’s contaminated or inhaled.

Related: Everything you wanted to know about sunblock but were too shy to ask

Health Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada assessed talc’s risk and according to their findings, a primary concern was the inhalation of talc particles from the use of body powder, baby powder and loose face powder, which could potentially cause lung damage. They also worried that talc exposure in the genital area from products such as diaper and rash creams, bath bombs, bubble bath and body wipes could be linked to ovarian cancer.

They also discovered that talc meets section 64 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) because it is entering the environment in a quantity or concentration or under conditions that could be dangerous to human life or health. They are now proposing to recommend that talc be added to the List of Toxic Substances in Schedule 1 of the Act.

Related: 10 toxic free nail polishes

If this news has you panicking, it’s worth noting that all Canadian cosmetics, natural health products and non-prescription drugs require disclosure of the ingredients on product labels, so you can always check to see if the ingredient is listed.


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In addition, there are many products out there that are talc-free. If you’re shopping at Sephora for example, their clean at Sephora products are formulated without a number of harmful ingredients, talc included. Look for the green checkmark that lets you know the product meets their clean criteria.


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