consumers should use traditional bedak sejuk (rice talcum), says the
Consumers Association of Penang (CAP).
The association made the call following findings in the United States
that suggest that women who use talcum powder are 40% more likely to
suffer from ovarian cancer.
CAP president S.M. Mohd Idris said bedak sejuk (powder made from rice
flour) and powder made from corn flour were good alternatives to
He cited a study from the Harvard Medical School in the United States
that found, from a sample of more than 3,000 women, that those using
talcum once a week had a 36% higher risk of getting ovarian cancer
while those using talcum daily faced a 41% higher risk.
A website that provides medical news, www.news-medical. net, reported
that the study also revealed that the risk was greater still for those
with a certain genetic profile.
The study's lead researcher, Dr Maggie Gates, was also reported as
saying that women should avoid using talcum powder in the genital area
until more research was done,
Mohd Idris told a press conference yesterday that, despite the dangers
associated with talcum powder, there were numerous talcum powder
products in the market.
Some of these products were also baby products, he said.
"The majority of talcum products are being produced by well-known
players in the industry and consumers buy them as they love the feel
of talcum on their skin," he added.
"Powder is an effective absorbent to help deodorise and imparts a
Mohd Idris said the primary component in talcum powder is magnesium
silicate hydroxide, also commonly known as talc, which is the main
ingredient in baby, medicated and designer perfumed body powder.
"Talc particles are capable of moving up the reproductive system and
being embedded in the ovary lining," he said.
"Researchers have found talc particles in ovarian tumour and they have
also discovered that women with ovarian cancer used talcum powder on
their genitals more frequently than healthy women."
He urged the Health Ministry to place a warning on products containing
talc and to stop the marketing of baby powder containing talc