Final screening assessment of talc under the Chemicals Management Plan


April 2021

Health Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada have completed a final screening assessment of talc under the Chemicals Management Plan. This final screening assessment is based on the latest scientific evidence, and supports the draft screening assessment released in 2018 by concluding that inhaling loose talc powders and using certain products containing talc in the female genital area may be harmful to human health. It also confirms that talc is not harmful to the environment. 

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

  1. Inhalation of fine particles of talc when using loose powder products like baby powder, body powder, and loose face powder, 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, bath bombs and bubble bath.

These areas of concern affect certain cosmetics, natural health products, and non-prescription drugs in Canada.
Based on the information available, the final screening assessment concluded that there are no human health risks from ingestion (e.g., talc in food or drugs), or dermal or inhalation exposures from pressed powders (e.g., pressed powder makeup).  
Health Canada is proposing appropriate risk management action. These measures include revising the existing entries for talc on the Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist and the Natural Health Products Ingredients Database and applicable monographs. This will provide information to manufacturers on the expanded restrictions on the use of talc in cosmetics, natural health products and non-prescription drugs that can be inhaled or used in the female genital area.

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, nearly 4,000 chemicals have been assessed. In addition, approximately 6,500 notifications for new chemicals, polymers and living organisms were assessed under the CMP in the same period.

The CMP builds on previous initiatives to help 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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