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Toxicol Lett. 1990 Jul;52(2):121-7; discussion 117-9.

Pulmonary toxicity of inhaled and intravenous talc.

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Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis 95616.


Talc (magnesium silicate) is a widely used, generally considered benign substance. It is principally used as an inert filler material in drug tablets or as a drying ingredient in baby powders. However, in both cases inappropriate use can lead to severe pulmonary toxicological responses. On the one hand, intravenous injection of 'solubilized', CNS active pills can produce microemboli in small pulmonary vessels. This can lead to various degrees of granuloma formation, compromised pulmonary function, or death. Overzealous application of baby powder can also produce severe pulmonary complications if the infant inspires the powder. Although the data are relatively scarce, a number of reports suggest the existence of a chronic problem in this area.

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