December 2018

Health Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada have completed a draft screening assessment of talc under the Chemicals Management Plan. This draft screening assessment is based on the latest scientific evidence, and proposes that inhaling loose talc powders and using certain products containing talc in the female genital area may be harmful to human health. It also proposes that talc is not harmful to the environment.

The draft screening assessment describes the potential areas of concern as:

  1. Inhalation of fine particles of talc with the use of loose powders like baby, body, face and foot powders, which can damage the lungs; and
  2. Exposure of the female genital area to products containing talc such as body powder, baby powder, diaper and rash creams, genital antiperspirants and deodorants, body wipes and bath bombs.

These areas of concern affect certain cosmetics, natural health products, and non-prescription drugs in Canada.

The draft screening assessment does not suggest human health risks from ingestion (for example, talc in food or drugs), or dermal or inhalation exposures from pressed powders (for example, eye shadows or blushes).

If the draft conclusions are confirmed in the final screening assessment, Health Canada will take appropriate risk management action. These measures may include revising the Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist and the Natural Health Products Ingredient Database and monographs to identify talc as prohibited or restricted in certain cosmetic, natural health products and non-prescription drugs.

About the Chemicals Management Plan

The Government of Canada created the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) in 2006 to reduce the risks posed by chemicals to the health of Canadians and the environment. Delivered jointly by Health Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada, the program was established with the goal of assessing 4,300 chemicals. To date, approximately 3,590 chemicals have been assessed, with the remaining chemicals to be assessed by 2020.

The CMP builds on previous initiatives to protect human health and the environment by assessing chemicals used in Canada, and by taking action on chemicals found to be harmful.

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