Hazard Seen in Talc Used on Condoms

<i> From Reuters</i>

Particles of talc used as a lubricant on latex condoms can enter a woman’s body during intercourse and irritate tissues, potentially causing infertility and cancer, a researcher said Tuesday.

In a letter published in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. and sent to several condom manufacturers, Dallas dermatopathologist Candace Kasper said she found varying amounts of talc, or magnesium silicate, on every brand of condom she bought on store shelves.

Kasper said more study is needed.

“My concern is that when it gets in the Fallopian tubes . . . if there is any inflammation at all, it can form a granuloma and then cause a blockage of the tube,” Kasper said in a telephone interview.


Talc was found on lubricated and unlubricated condoms, along with other lubricants considered safer, such as cornstarch.

Some years ago, the federal government ordered makers of surgical gloves to substitute cornstarch or other biodegradable lubricants for talc on gloves because of the dangers of depositing the particles inside the body.

Previous research has highlighted isolated cases of peritonitis, an inflammation of membrane, that may have been caused by talc on a condom, Kasper said, as well as studies showing coatings on condoms can emulsify and travel up the Fallopian tubes to the ovaries.

Kasper said she received responses to her letter from some condom manufacturers, but only Ansel Products, makers of Lifestyle condoms, said their condoms have been free of talc since January, 1994.