In man, talc is not regarded as a skin irritant, although local inflammatory reactions (granulomas) have been reported if it enters the body through wounds or by injection, inhalation or, in one case, by ingestion. Breathing difficulties have arisen following inhalation and permanent lung damage has occurred. In epidemiological studies, a higher risk of ovarian cancer has been reported in some women who regularly used talc as a dusting powder in the genital area although other studies have found no such effect. No conclusive evidence of talc-induced carcinogenicity has been demonstrated in workers.

Lung damage has developed in rats exposed repeatedly, by inhalation, to talc. No foetal effects were seen in rabbits, rats, mice or hamsters treated orally during pregnancy. In rats given oral doses, there was no evidence of activity in assays for chromosomal damage or dominant lethal mutations. Talc did not cause chromosomal damage in human cells treated in culture and it was not mutagenic to yeast or to bacteria in Ames tests.

Date of Publication: 1991

Number of Pages: 8

CAS Number*: 14807-96-6

Format: PDF available for immediate download

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