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Author Topic: How safe is Talc as a food additive?  (Read 16764 times)

Offline Atomic-S

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How safe is Talc as a food additive?
« on: 04/03/2008 05:18:19 »
I recently observed on a bottle of antacid - calcium supplement tablets that one of the ingredients is talc. Now as I recall, talc was widely used in Japan as a food additive to improve the texture of rice, until studies linked it with stomach cancer. I therefore wonder about the safety of food supplements that contain it. Does anyone have any information onthis subject?
« Last Edit: 05/03/2008 08:43:39 by Karen W. »


 

Offline JimBob

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Re: How safe is Talc as a food additive?
« Reply #1 on: 05/03/2008 02:30:03 »
If it contains tlac, don't use it. Asbestos is a chin silicate very similar to the chin silicate  talc in its crystal structure and can be almost as deadly. It was taken out of baby powder and talcum powder and corn starch used to replaced it instead because of the similarities and problems mentioned. Think of the talc crystals as very tiny needles. I would not use ANYTHING with talc on or in the human or animal body.

 

another_someone

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Re: How safe is Talc as a food additive?
« Reply #2 on: 05/03/2008 03:04:21 »
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talc#Safety
Quote
Several studies have established preliminary links between talc and pulmonary issues, lung cancer, skin cancer and ovarian cancer.  This is a major concern considering talc's widespread commercial and household use. In 1993, a US National Toxicology Program report found that cosmetic grade talc caused tumours in animals, even though it contained no asbestos-like fibres.  Scientists have been aware of the toxicity of talc since the late 1960s, and in 1971 researchers found particles of talc embedded in 75 percent of the ovarian tumors studied.  However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers non-asbestiform talc, that is talc which does not contain potentially carcinogenic asbestiform amphibole fibers, to be Generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for use in cosmetics.

Clearly, this is a complex issue, with many opinions on the matter.
 

Offline JimBob

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How safe is Talc as a food additive?
« Reply #3 on: 05/03/2008 15:57:56 »
I read the above as a show of strength of the talc lobby and the power of their money, not anything based on science.
 

another_someone

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How safe is Talc as a food additive?
« Reply #4 on: 05/03/2008 16:20:01 »
I read the above as a show of strength of the talc lobby and the power of their money, not anything based on science.

As far as I can see, the only strong evidence is for pulmonary problems (including lung cancers) for people who breath in a lot of talc dust (but similar problems occur even with people who breath in lots of paper dust, or coal dust, but we don't at this time regard paper as a major public health risk - maybe it should be?).

It is not clear if there is any association with ovarian cancer, since the statement that 75% of ovarian cancers are found with talc particles embedded tells us nothing about what percentage of people without ovarian cancers also have talc in their ovaries - but it may be argued that continual lifetime exposure in high doses to anything is not healthy.

I have not found anything that looked at the ingestion of talc, and in that context, I might agree to a degree of concern (the human digestive system was never designed for handling finely powdered minerals of any kind - although I have not heard of any research specifically indicating digestive tract problems associated with talc).  I don't see the present research as indicating one should get paranoid about occasional light external use of talc (but try not to breath the stuff in).

I have seen no comment regarding the use of French Chalk, which I understand is the same thing as talc.
« Last Edit: 05/03/2008 16:23:20 by another_someone »
 

Offline Bored chemist

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How safe is Talc as a food additive?
« Reply #5 on: 05/03/2008 19:38:12 »

 

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