What is the talc in talcum powder?
To more fully understand the issue, it would help to learn more about talcum powder. While this may seem to be a somewhat complicated subject, it will help explain why talc might be a substance of concern. Talcum powder is derived from a type of rock which geologists refer to as being metamorphic. A metamorphic rock is one that is changed or transformed from any other type of rock. For example, slate is formed from shale and marble from limestone. Talc is a mineral that combines with other minerals, carbon dioxide and water to form a classification of rocks known as talc carbonates. It is from these rocks that talc is produced.
For starters, research on the subject tells us that three companies in the United States provide most of the talc produced in the U.S. To get the talc from rock, an open pit mine is created. In this mine, the rock is drilled, blasted, and partially crushed and then taken to a mill to further reduce the particle size to the smooth powder me know as talc.
Talc, by the way, is our softest mineral. In powder form, talc absorbs moisture to keep skin dry and it can help prevent rashes. Talcum powder was first used in the 1800s to soothe irritated skin after the widespread use of medicated plasters. Over time, talcum powder was found to help diaper rash as well. Thus came the birth of Johnson’s Baby Powder in 1893.