Talcum powder that contains asbestos can cause cancer when inhaled, according to the American Cancer Society. However, as of 2015, it remains unclear if talcum powder that doesn't contain asbestos is a carcinogen.
Talc, an ingredient in talcum powder, is mainly magnesium, silicon and oxygen, explains the American Cancer Society. It absorbs moisture and keeps skin dry. Many cosmetic products, including adult facial powders and baby powder, contain talcum powder.
Some talc contains asbestos, which can cause cancers of the lungs and ovaries, notes the American Cancer Society. In the United States, talcum products for home use have been free of asbestos since the 1970s.