With the voluntary cessation of talc-based baby powder sales globally by Johnson & Johnson in 2023, the Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) calls on the Health Ministry to ban other imported talc-based baby powders and those produced by local manufacturers.
The Health Ministry (MoH) should institute the ban with immediate effect rather than to wait till next year. The existing stock of products containing talc should be returned to the respective manufacturers for a refund.
Johnson & Johnson will stop selling talc-based baby powder globally because it has had thousands of consumer safety lawsuits. In fact, it stopped selling the product in the United States of America (USA) more than two years ago.
USA Food and Drug Administration found in recent studies that talc contains traces of asbestos-like fibres that are known to cause cancer and tumours. It has recently been considered carcinogenic. These should have been reasons to ban the use of talc at the earliest opportunity.
The ban on the use of talc in products should also be applied to other products as well such as blush, foundation, concealer, eye shadow, face powder, mascara, eyeliner, eyebrow pencils, and lipsticks containing carcinogen substances.
It was found that talc particles are capable of travelling up the reproductive system and embedding themselves in the lining of the ovaries. Researchers have found talc particles in ovarian cancers and they have also found that women with ovarian cancer have used talcum powder in their genital area more frequently than healthy women.
CAP would advise consumers to refrain from using products containing talc that might be labelled as talc, talcum or talcum powder, cosmetic talc or magnesium silicate in their ingredients. Cornstarch-based baby powder, rice powder (bedak sejuk), and aloe vera are safer alternatives.
Mohideen Abdul Kader
Consumers Association of Penang (CAP)
Press Statement, 19 August 2022