Data are presented on the effects on health of talc dusts from exposure in industry and use of talc-containing health products. The mineralogy of talc and the composition of cosmetic and industrial grade talc dusts are described. Studies in animals are reviewed, and epidemiological data are considered in relation to exposures that occur during industrial and consumer uses of talc dusts. Hamsters exposed to 8 mg/m3 of respirable cosmetic grade talc dust for up to 150 minutes a day for 300 consecutive days showed no difference in incidence or nature of pathological lesions from those observed in a group of untreated animals. A retrospective study of the causes of death of 227 talc mine millers exposed to cosmetic grade talc at the threshold limit value for talc (20 million parts per cubic foot) for an average of 15-8 years showed that the causes of death were no different from those in a control cohort not exposed to talc dust. The available data indicate that talc dust exposure in the modern mining of cosmetic grade talc does not appear to be injurious to health. The significantly lower dust exposure in the normal use of cosmetic grade talc dusts in talc-containing health and cosmetic products confirms that their use is not a hazard to health.
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