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12/05/2018 16:18 EST | Updated 12/05/2018 16:53 EST

Talcum Powder May Cause Ovarian Cancer, Respiratory Issues: Health Canada

The assessment focuses on the safety of talc in self-care products such as cosmetics.

Health Canada is warning consumers to avoid inhaling talcum powder or using it on female genitals.
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Health Canada is warning consumers to avoid inhaling talcum powder or using it on female genitals.

TORONTO — Consumers are being warned to avoid inhaling talcum powder or using the products on female genitals, as exposure may cause potentially serious respiratory effects and possibly ovarian cancer.

A draft assessment by Health Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada also says baby powder should be kept away from a child's face to avoid inhalation.

Talcum powder taken into the lungs can result in difficulty breathing, decreased lung function and fibrosis, or scarring of the lungs.

Products containing the naturally occurring mineral have been linked to ovarian cancer in some women, and the Canadian Cancer Society identifies talc use on the genitals as a possible risk factor.

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The draft assessment focuses on the safety of talc in such self-care products as cosmetics; baby, body, face and foot powders; diaper and rash creams; and genital antiperspirants and deodorants.

The government says that if its final screening assessment confirms that talc in certain products is harmful to human health, action will be taken to manage the identified risks.

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