After decades of research the Health and Safety Executive at the European Union can finally reveal that talcum powder is as carcinogenic as mobile phones.
There has been plenty of anecdotal reports over the dangers of mobile phones, but little in the way of actual fact, this has now been addressed with mobile phones classified as a category three risk. Research then turned to that most insidious of white powders: talc.
"It's not widely advertised by talcum powder manufacturers," said Malcolm Pouder, who headed the team investigating talc, "but talcum powder is made from a very crumbly rock called talcum. This rock is associated with radon. All talcum processing plants are in high radon areas. Radon is a highly radioactive gas, which irradiates all materials in the vicinity."
According to the Health And Safety Executive, this means that talcum powder has sufficient radioactivity to set off radiation sensors at airports.
"Every year dozens of flights are delayed because somebody thought it big and clever to take a tub of talc through customs," said Pouder. "It's just not on."
Laura Justice, who runs Mums Net out of Oldham near Manchester is appalled at the news.
"This is dreadful," she said. "We've only just finished a survey into the best talcs on the market. Now we find out that they are as carcinogenic as mobiles! How can this have gone unreported so long?"
Scientists working for the European Union have measured the half life of talcum powder and put it at five hundred million years.
"This means it will never be safe," said Justice. "At least not in my life time."
The EU is considering forcing talcum powder manufacturers to place hazardous radioactive warning stickers on all contains of talc in future.
"This would be a bad move," said John Johnson, who runs a multinational talc company with his sister Joan. "People have been using talc for millennia without ill effect. These kind of scare mongering warnings would deleteriously affect sales. Even if they are warranted, which I'm not saying they are."