Talc is known as the softest mineral on earth, composed of magnesium, silicon and oxygen. 

The mineral is largely mined in the southeastern United States with smaller deposits found throughout the country. 

Talc is used in many different products, which means many different talcum products can cause cancer. It can be crushed into a white powder, more commonly known as “talcum powder.”

The talcum powder can be used for many purposes, but it is more known for its ability to absorb moisture, oils and odor. These properties have made talcum powder an important ingredient in most powder products, such as baby powders, foot powders, first aid powders, and a variety of cosmetics.

One of the most famous talcum powder products is Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder. The company has been drilled with asbestos lawsuits for the last decade due to confirmed reports of asbestos in its talc. There are many other companies, though: Avon, Claire’s and more, all connected to talc and cancer.

 

Where Is Talc Mined? 

Talc is found in many different places throughout the United States but mainly found in the eastern Appalachian and Piedmont regions from New England to Alabama. In 2019, Montana was the leading talc producer in the U.S., followed by Texas and then Vermont. 

With the heaviest talc presence being throughout the Appalachian mountains, there are many states included in that region, such as:

  • Virginia
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Georgia
  • Alabama
  • Mississippi
  • Tennessee
  • Kentucky
  • Missouri
  • Illinois

The mineral can also be found in small amounts in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Alaska and Minnesota.

In the western United States, talc deposits are in:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • New Mexico
  • Wyoming

Generally, most of the talc produced in the United States comes from talc mines in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama.

As more companies find replacements for talc, mining for the mineral will be less necessary.

 

What Products Is Talc Used In?

Talc is the main ingredient in talcum powder, often used as a baby powder, to absorb moisture, to prevent rashes and to provide fragrance.  Talc is used in many cosmetic products such as blushes, eye shadows, foundations and face powders. It can also be found in body powders, foot powders and deodorants. 

Talcum powder has been commonly used for many years, but there are concerns about its safety. Some studies have suggested that there may be a link between the use of talcum powder and cancer, like mesothelioma, lung cancer and ovarian cancer.

Today, most former talc products now incorporate cornstarch as a safe alternative to talc. Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder and any other talc products aren’t safe to use.

Although talc has declined in popularity due to concerns of asbestos contamination, there can still be lasting effects. Asbestos-contaminated talc can have deadly consequences, such as the development of asbestos diseases like mesothelioma. If you once used or are still using talc products, it’s important to be aware of the risks.

Contact our registered nurse, Karen Ritter, at karen@mesotheliomaguide.com, if you have any concerns about possible asbestos exposure.

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Talc

  • What is talc?
  • Talc is the softest mineral on earth. It can be crushed into a fine white dust known as talcum powder. The mineral is used in many different products but is primarily used for its ability to absorb moisture, oils and odor.

  • What is talc used for?
  • Talc, or talcum powder, can absorb moisture, oil and odor. It was originally used for babies to prevent and treat diaper rashes. Once the powder became more well-known, adults began using talc powder in creative ways: dry shampoo, mascara primer, post-wax or shaving pain relief, deodorant alternative, grease stain remover, musty odor remover in closets and drawers, shoe odor eliminator, and more.

  • Where does talc come from?
  • Talc is a naturally occurring mineral found within the earth. It is largely mined throughout the southeastern United States with deposits in other parts of the country. Talc is primarily mined in the Appalachian Mountain range, which reaches across several U.S. states. The top talc-producing mines are in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama.

    Sources & Author

    Talc: The Softest Mineral. Geology.com. Retrieved from: https://geology.com/minerals/talc.shtml#:~:text=Most%20of%20the%20talc%20deposits,are%20also%20found%20in%20Texas. Accessed: 07/27/22.

    Talc and Pyrophyllite. Mcs2020-talc. Retrieved from: https://pubs.usgs.gov/periodicals/mcs2020/mcs2020-talc.pdf. Accessed: 07/28/22. 

Camryn Keeble image

About the Writer, Camryn Keeble

Camryn Keeble is a content writer and editor for Mesothelioma Guide. She creates mesothelioma-related content for the Mesothelioma Guide website. Camryn's goal is to decipher advanced information regarding mesothelioma into informative, simplified content to educate those affected by mesothelioma. She also works diligently to raise awareness of mesothelioma and its effects on patients and their loved ones.

 

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    Sources & Author

Picture of Camryn Keeble

About the Writer, Camryn Keeble

Camryn Keeble is a content writer and editor for Mesothelioma Guide. She creates mesothelioma-related content for the Mesothelioma Guide website. Camryn's goal is to decipher advanced information regarding mesothelioma into informative, simplified content to educate those affected by mesothelioma. She also works diligently to raise awareness of mesothelioma and its effects on patients and their loved ones.