WHO declares talc “probably carcinogenic” to people | Health and wellness | EUROtoday

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has categorized talc, a pure mineral utilized in cosmetics and physique powders, as a product “probably carcinogenic” to people. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the WHO physique liable for figuring out the carcinogenic potential of drugs, has concluded, after finding out the accessible scientific proof, that this mineral might have the capability to trigger most cancers within the inhabitants. Specifically, it locations it at stage 2A, the second highest step inside its pyramid of identification of risks: because of this, though there may be restricted proof that it will possibly trigger tumors in people (particularly, ovarian), there may be ample certainty that it causes most cancers in experimental animals and there may be additionally “strong mechanistic evidence”. This implies that talc “exhibits key characteristics of carcinogens in human cells and experimental systems”, explains the IARC in an announcement. The WHO's most cancers company has additionally recognized acrylonitrile, a compound utilized in textiles and client plastics, as “carcinogenic” to people.

Talc is a mineral that’s mined in lots of elements of the world. According to IARC, along with occupational publicity to this product (throughout its extraction or processing), the overall inhabitants can come into contact with this substance by way of using cosmetics or physique powders that comprise this mineral, similar to make-up or deodorants. And though it’s much less studied, it will also be current in meals, medicines and different client merchandise. The WHO most cancers company additionally expresses its concern concerning the contamination of talc with asbestos (a substance much like asbestos and thought of a harmful carcinogen: though it’s tough to measure, it assures, this danger “can lead to the exposure of workers and the general population to asbestos, for example, through makeup and body powders contaminated with talc.”

Some thirty worldwide consultants have “exhaustively” reviewed the accessible scientific literature and concluded that talc is “probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A)”. This implies that the extent of certainty about its carcinogenic potential is similar as that concerning the results of consuming pink meat or working evening shifts. “The Group 2A classification is the second highest level of certainty that a substance may cause cancer. There have been numerous studies that have consistently shown an increase in the incidence of ovarian cancer in humans who reported the use of body powders in the perineal region. Although the evaluation focused on talc that did not contain asbestos, in most studies carried out on exposed humans, contamination of the talc with asbestos could not be excluded”, explains the IARC.

The scientists be aware that an elevated charge of ovarian most cancers was additionally noticed in research taking a look at occupational publicity amongst ladies working within the pulp and paper trade. “However, confounding by simultaneous exposure to asbestos could not be excluded, and the increased rate was based on a small number of ovarian cancers in these occupational studies,” the consultants who analysed the danger stage admit.

In animal fashions, talc remedy additionally triggered an elevated incidence of adrenal and lung most cancers in feminine rats; in male rats, a mixture of benign and malignant tumours (within the adrenal medulla) have been additionally recorded. Based on proof of mechanisms typical of cancer-causing compounds, IARC scientists concluded that talc reveals key traits of carcinogens, “including the induction of chronic inflammation and the disruption of cell proliferation, cell death or nutrient supply.”

The hyperlink between talcum powder and ovarian most cancers has been underneath scrutiny for a while. Tens of hundreds of individuals within the United States sued the multinational Johnson & Johnson (J&J) for the alleged presence of carcinogenic elements in one in all its flagship merchandise, talcum powder bought underneath the Baby Powder model. The pharmaceutical big has at all times maintained that its talcum powders have been secure, however the litigation reached such a scale that the corporate introduced that, beginning in 2022, it might droop the sale of Baby Powder worldwide, after doing so in 2020 within the United States and Canada.

“This does not mean that just because someone has used talcum powder at some point, they are at risk. The risk of developing cancer will depend on the dose of exposure, the time and the form of contact with the talcum powder.”

Alejandro Pérez Fidalgo, oncologist on the Hospital Clínico de Valencia

Regarding this new IARC consideration, Joan Albanell, head of the Medical Oncology Service on the Hospital del Mar in Barcelona, ​​factors out: “The WHO review provides mechanistic and preclinical evidence that talc has a carcinogenic effect, but its definitive translation into epidemiological studies seems to be limited, at least in part, by the co-exposure to talc and asbestos in certain professions. It will be important to see how this recent classification of talc in group 2A of carcinogenic agents is translated into public health and prevention policies.”

Along the identical strains, Alejandro Pérez Fidalgo, a health care provider from the Oncology Service on the Hospital Clínico de Valencia and a researcher on the INCLIVA Biomedical Research Institute, makes a clarification: “That does not mean that, just because someone has used talcum powder once or even because they use it regularly, they are clearly at risk, since the risk of developing cancer will depend on the dose of exposure, time and form of contact with the talcum powder. The studies that support this classification have many biases, that is, certain confounding factors that prevent us from appreciating or predicting with complete solidity the relationship between the use of talcum powder or exposure to it and cancer.”

Regarding human research, the scientist factors out: “The two studies that support the recommendation include women who used talcum powder applied to the genital area. Application of talcum powder to this area showed a slight increase in ovarian cancer, but not significant, in a first study that included more than 250,000 people in the United States. A second analysis of eight case-control studies, including more than 18,000 people, showed that women who had used genital talcum powder had a slightly higher risk of infiltrating serous, clear cell, and serous ovarian tumors. borderline “Statistically significant. In the case of those who used talcum powder in other locations (i.e. not in the genital area), there was no increased risk of cancer.”

Pérez Fidalgo says that “it would be advisable” to keep away from, so far as attainable, using talcum powder in genital areas, particularly in ladies. But he once more requires warning with regard to the IARC choice: “This does not mean that prior use of talcum powder will cause cancer or that prior exposure to this agent will clearly be responsible for the appearance of a tumor.”

Acrylonitrile, carcinogenic to people

In this evaluation of potential carcinogens, the WHO most cancers company has additionally positioned acrylonitrile within the highest stage of certainty of most cancers: group 1, which incorporates substances and behaviours for which there isn’t a doubt that they trigger hurt to the physique. According to IARC, this compound is carcinogenic to people and the extent of certainty about its skill to trigger most cancers is similar as that for smoking or photo voltaic radiation.

According to IARC, this unstable natural compound is used particularly within the manufacturing of polymers (polyacrylonitrile, styrene-acrylonitrile, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene and different artificial rubbers). These merchandise are utilized in clothes fibres, carpets and different textiles, but in addition in plastics for client merchandise, automotive elements and development. Human publicity to this substance, other than occupational publicity (throughout its manufacturing course of), is thru inhalation of cigarette smoke, since it’s current on this context. Another supply of publicity is air air pollution.

The WHO most cancers company believes there may be ample proof that it causes lung most cancers in people and, though with extra restricted proof, additionally bladder most cancers. “The evidence came mainly from studies in workers who produced or used acrylonitrile. In addition, there was sufficient evidence of cancer in experimental animals and strong mechanistic evidence of key characteristics of the carcinogens in experimental systems,” the worldwide group concludes.

Speaking to SMC, Andrew Watterson, a researcher in Public Health on the Faculty of Health Sciences on the University of Stirling (United Kingdom), pressured that the 2 selections of the IARC “are based on a careful examination of the evidence”: “These decisions mean that we need a good preventive and precautionary policy to eliminate exposure to talc, if possible, but it may be more difficult to achieve than with acrylonitrile.” Regarding this natural compound, the scientist requires alternate options to be sought to scale back using this poisonous substance. “Worker protection should be improved with even stricter acrylonitrile exposure standards and the risks of acrylonitrile for smokers should be highlighted again,” he stated.

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