When most people think of talcum powder, they think of sprinkling on a newborn in order to prevent diaper rash. While this may be the most visual use of the powder, it certainly is not the only use. Talc, the mineral from which talcum powder is made, is actually used a vast number of ways.
Talcum powder is highly used in almost all cosmetics and makeups out there. Because talc can be ground down to a very fine powder it can be used in anything that needs a pasty type substance. For example, lipstick is composed of a lot of talcum powder. The same goes for foundations, eye liners, mascara, and basically all other makeup out there.
Tires, and other rubber products, dont seem like they would contain talc. And for the most part the rubber actually doesnt. However, the process to make the tires uses a lot of talc. Because the mineral is naturally astringent (meaning it dries things out) it actually decreases friction and stickiness. So when the tires are put into the mold to shape them, the walls of the mold are lined with talc to allow for easy release of the sticky rubber.
Have you ever put on a pair of latex gloves? Did you notice that there was powder on your hands when you pulled them off? That powder is talcum. It helps the hands slide into the glove, and soaks up sweat as the gloves are worn for an extended period of time.
There are a few companies that also make what they call body powder. Basically this is the same stuff as baby powder, but without the baby scent to it. Many women use body powder for personal hygiene. The same way that sprinkling it on a baby prevents diaper rash, sprinkling it in the genital area prevents chafing. This process, however, has actually been shown to lead to a significantly increased risk of developing ovarian cancer. So if you are in the habit of using body powder for personal hygiene, it is recommended that you stop immediately.
Talcum powder is used extensively throughout the world. Talc is a readily available mineral that is mined in a multitude of countries. It is inert, and it is safe unless used in a perineal application.