Although considered safe in the majority of cases, talc could pose health problems if inhaled or when applied on the perineal areas. Health Canada is therefore considering expanding restrictions on the use of talc in certain cosmetics, natural health products and over-the-counter drugs.

In an assessment of the risk represented by this natural substance [1], Health Canada and Environment Canada say the inhalation of respirable particles of talc can result in damage to the lungs, even in adults. Body powders, baby powders and loose face powders are the main products of concern.

Furthermore, Canadian authorities are also concerned about exposure of the female perineal area, which includes the genitals, to self-care products containing talc, as this type of exposure has been associated with ovarian cancer in studies of the human population. The list of concerned products includes: body powders, baby powders, diapers and rash creams, genital antiperspirants and deodorants, body wipes, bath bombs, bubble baths.

New warnings and precautions for use should therefore be required for these products.

However, Santé Canada and Environment Canada say that talc is not harmful for the environment and the assessment did not identify human health risks from exposure to talc resulting from exposure through many cosmetics (including foot powders, dry hair shampoos or pressed powder products, such as face makeup), natural health products and non-prescription drugs.

Industry and other interested stakeholders are invited to submit comments and additional information prior to June 23, 2021.