Government of Canada Assessment Concludes that Talc May be Harmful to Human Health
Measures proposed to help manage the risks associated with inhaling loose talc powders and using certain products containing talc
April 22, 2021 - Ottawa, ON - Health Canada
The Government of Canada is committed to protecting the health of Canadians and the environment. Through the Chemicals Management Plan, the Government assesses chemicals used in Canada, and takes action on those found to be harmful to human health or the environment.
Under the Chemicals Management Plan, Health Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada have completed a final screening assessment of talc, a mineral used in many consumer products.
Most uses of talc are not a concern to human health. However, based on the latest science and the final screening assessment completed in 2021, the Government of Canada concludes that talc may be harmful to lungs when inhaling certain loose talc powder products, and it may cause ovarian cancer when using certain self-care products containing talc in the female genital area. As a result, the Government is proposing measures to help manage the risks posed by the use of talc in a limited number of product types, such as certain cosmetics, natural health products and non-prescription drugs. Talc is not harmful for the environment.
The assessment did not identify human health risks from exposure to talc resulting from exposure through paper, plastics, paint, ceramics, putties, and in food, as well as many cosmetics, natural health products and non-prescription drugs.
The final screening assessment report and the risk management approach have been published on Canada.ca. The final screening assessment takes into consideration comments and new evidence received during the consultation period following the publication of the draft screening assessment. The risk management approach is open to public comment for 60 days, until June 23, 2021.
In Canada, cosmetics, natural health products and non-prescription drugs all require disclosure of the medicinal and non-medicinal ingredients on product labels. Canadians concerned about their exposure to talc can check the ingredient list on product labels, and avoid using loose powders containing talc that may be inhaled and products that contain talc in the female genital area.
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health
Public Health Agency of Canada
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