CHICAGO (October 13, 2022) — An independent systematic review that included many of the most often cited studies on the potential health hazards of inhaled talc published in Frontiers in Public Health, on October 11th, 2022 has determined there is a lack of an association between talc and pulmonary cancers.
This systematic review generated suggestive evidence of no association (as defined by the Institute of Medicine) between talc exposure and lung cancer and pleural mesothelioma.
It is one of the most comprehensive systematic reviews of existing research on inhaled talc to date, and will hopefully ease the concerns of families who have been using cosmetic powders and many other products containing talc, and workers preparing or using talc. The findings might also raise questions on the validity of pending lawsuits claiming talc exposure was the cause of pulmonary cancers.
The most rigorous systematic review methods were applied to synthesize and critically evaluate the scientific evidence addressing any possible relationship(s) between talc exposure and lung cancer and pleural mesothelioma. The review included studies on occupational exposure, as well as the personal use of talc-containing products (primarily talcum powders and cosmetics), integrating three types of studies: epidemiological, toxicological, and mechanistic studies that identify potential underlying modes of action (MOA, or how exposure to a substance leads to disease).
These findings support and go further than those of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) that inhaled talc not containing asbestos or asbestiform fibers is “not classifiable” as a carcinogen (IARC 2010), as it identified no clear increase in cancer risk in animals or humans, and no clear MOA for carcinogenesis was identified.
This systematic review was conducted by a team of scientists led by Heather Lynch, M.P.H., of Stantec who explains, “Systematic review methods are evolving, but their core principles provide transparent and reproducible guidance for assessing and synthesizing scientific evidence on whether chemical substances can cause health effects, including cancers, in humans. This is critical to ensuring that policy and regulations are based on robust science and not unduly influenced by sporadic observed associations or untested hypotheses.”
The review was funded by the Center for Truth in Science, an independent non-profit organization dedicated to exploring the intersection of science, justice, and the economy.
This research brings clarity to the ongoing courtroom debates about the effects of talc exposure,” said Jacob Traverse, president and CEO of Center for Truth in Science. “The findings of this comprehensive review should ensure that future discussions on talc will be based on validated science, and produce regulatory and judicial decisions that foster innovation, benefit consumers, and protect public health.
The research plan and summary were described by Margaret Murray, Ph.D., Research Director of the Center for Truth in Science, and performed by a highly qualified group of toxicologists and epidemiologists from April to September, 2021.
To view the full independent systematic review, visit https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2022.989111
To learn more about the significant conclusions of this systematic review, a downloadable version of these top takeaways is available here.
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