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Alumina Toxicology | Ammonia and Latex Toxicity | Antimony Oxide | Are colored porcelains hazardous? | Arsenic Oxide | Asbestos: A Difficult-to-Repace Material | Ball Clay | BARIUM and COMPOUNDS / Toxicology | Barium Carbonate | Bentonite Toxicity | Beryllium Monoxide Toxicology | Bismuth Trioxide Toxicology | Boron Compounds and Their Toxicity | Brown Stain | Cadmium Toxicity | Calcium Carbonate Toxicology | Carbon Monoxide Toxicity | Cesium Toxicology | Chromium Compounds Toxicology | Clay Toxicity | Cobalt Oxide and Carbonate | Cobalt Toxicology | Copper Compounds Toxicology | Copper Oxide and Carbonate | Cristobalite Toxicity | Cryolite and Ceramics | Dealing With Dust in Ceramics | Diatomaceous Earth Toxicology | Dioxins in Clays | Epsom Salts | Eye Injuries Due to Radiation | Feldspar | Fighting Micro-Organisms in Ceramics | Fluorine Gas | Gallium Oxide Toxicology | Hafnium Oxide Toxicty | Hydrofluoric Acid Toxicity | Iron oxide and Hematite | Lead Chromate | Lead in Ceramic Glazes | Lead Toxicology | Lithium Carbonate Toxicity | Lithium Toxicology | Man-Made Vitreous Fibers (MMVF) Toxicology | Man-Made Vitreous Fibers Safety Update | Manganese and Parkinsons by Jane Watkins | Manganese in Clay Bodies | Manganese Inorganic Compounds Toxicology | Manganese Toxicity by Elke Blodgett | Manganese: Creativity and Illness by Dierdre O'Reilly | Molybdenum Compounds Toxicology | Nickel Compounds Toxicity | Niobium Oxide Toxicity | Occupational Dermatoses | Overview of Material Safety by Gavin Stairs | Paraffin Toxicology | Perlite Toxicity | Plant Ash Toxicity | Potassium Carbonate Toxicity | Pregnancy and Ceramics | Propane Toxicology | Quartz Toxicity | Quartz Toxicity on Clayart | Rare Earth Compounds Toxicity | Rubidium and Cesium Toxicology | Rutile Toxicology | Silicosis and Screening | Silver Compounds Toxicology | Sodium Azide Toxicology | Sodium Carbonate Toxicology | Sodium Silicate Powder Toxicology | Stannous Chloride Toxicity | Strontium Carbonate Toxicity Note | Sulfur Dioxide Toxicity | | Talc Toxicology | Thallium Oxide Toxicology | The Use of Barium in Clay Bodies | Thorium Dioxide Toxicity | Tin Inorganic Compounds | Titanium Dioxide Toxicology | Toxicological Assessment of Zeolites | Tungsten Compounds Toxicology | Understanding Acronyms on MSDS's | Uranium and Ceramics | Vanadium and Compounds Toxicology | Vermiculite | Zinc Compounds Toxicology | Zirconium Compounds Toxicity | Zirconium Encapsulated Stains Toxicity

Talc Hazards Overview

Health concerns about talc revolve mainly around the non-platiform content, the extent to which these are asbestos, and how high the length:width ratio of non-asbestos particles needs to be to make them a hazard also.

ACGIH TLV and OSHA PEL: 2 mg/cubic meter, 8 hr. TWA, Respirable Dust (talc containing no asbestos fibers).
CAS: 71949-90-1
Chlorite (typical 3%) ACGIH TLV: 10 mg/cubic meter 8 hr. TWA
CAS: 14808-60-7 Silica: (typical 2%) ACGIH TLV & OSHA PEL: 0.1 mg/cubic meter 8 hr. TWA, Respirable Dust

Wilson's RISK Scale of Material Hazards
(1-4 higher numbers are increased hazard)

R 1 (reactivity)
I 2 (inhalation)
S 1 (skin contact)
K 1 (kindling/fire)

May cause irritation to upper respiratory tract.

Pre-existing lung disease may be aggravated by exposure to dust. Prolonged over exposure can cause Talcosis (a pulmonary fibrosis of the lungs). Although talc is a fibrous magnesium silicate as is asbestos, it does not have the same effect on the lungs. The two minerals are closely associated, and most commercial talcs do contain some asbestos.

Talc is not characterized as a carcinogen by NTP, IARC, ACGIH or OSHA.

Talc may contain extremely small amounts (less than 2 ppm) of substances regulated under drinking water regulations: e.g. arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, nickel.

Phsyical Data:


  1. An excellent discussion of talc hazards can be found in 'Documentation of the Threshold Limit Values and Biological Exposure Indices' from the American Conference of Industrial Hygienists, Cincinnati, OH
  2. 'Patty's Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology', John Wiley & Sons has information on asbestosis and talcosis.

By Tony Hansen
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