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Can I use talc on my packer?

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I do. But I was recently told on an ftm forum that I shouldn’t. So, I decided to do my own research. My conclusions? You shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet.

From what I gather, this nugget about packer maintenance seems to have originated from Hudson’s Guide, an absolutely invaluable resource for any new-to-this-shit trans man (myself included; would recommend).

Anyway, Hudson states “there is some evidence that the use of talcum powder has been linked to cervical cancer”. This is patently not true. However, as Hudson was basically the only person telling us what we needed to know, it seemed better to trust in his advice than to go “cervical cancer? What larks!” and dust our dicks with talc.

However, there may be a link between the use of talc and ovarian cancer. Which, for post-oophorectomy trans men, is not actually an issue at all.

The theory goes like this- in the 1970s, delicate ladies were told by Johnson & Johnson to disguise the unsavoury scent of their unmentionables with a daily dusting of talc. Talc, being made up of fine particles, travelled up their hoohah, through the cervix, into the uterus, round the fallopian tubes and settled finally into the ovary, where they triggered the formation of tumours.

However, the evidence to back this up is weak. They rely on people self-reporting that they used talc many years previously, which isn’t terrifically accurate. Stronger studies have found no link whatsoever- human and hamster studies which compare talc-users to non-talc users (no idea why the hamsters are using talc, don’t ask me) saw no significant difference in the rate of ovarian cancer.

Even if the risk is there, it only increases the risk of ovarian cancer by up to a third. Which, although it sounds dramatic, the lifetime risk of developing ovarian cancer is less than 2%. So we’re looking at a 1 in 40 chance of getting ovarian cancer, rather than 1 in 50 (presuming we still have ovaries to get cancer in).

Also, talc used to contain asbestos. Which as we all know, is hella carcinogenic. So it could just be that these talc-users got cancer form their old-timey asbestos-ridden talc.

Regardless, the World Health Organisation classes talc as a “possibly carcinogenic” agent of class 2B. That’s the same class as:

  • Aloe vera leaf
  • Coffee
  • Kimchi
  • Progestogen-only contraceptives

Androgenic steroids are class 2A. Alcohol is class 1. Kind of puts things into perspective.

Below I’ve linked to everything I read before writing this post. I encourage you to read over them, to do your own research, and I’d be particularly interested in anything decisive that convinces me not to use talc. But for now, I will continue to do so.

http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/causes-of-cancer/cancer-controversies/cosmetics-and-toiletries#Cosmetics2

http://www.ftmguide.org/

http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-05-24/women-are-suing-johnson-johnson-over-talcum-powder

http://www.babycentre.co.uk/x25006277/is-it-safe-to-use-talcum-powder-on-my-baby

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/jun/23/should-i-stop-using-talcum-powder

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About Big Rook

Chess coaching and events in the north-west of England

3 responses »

  1. Best thing to use is corn starch 🙂

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  2. But saying that, both my partner and I use talc with our packers, and between the pair of us we have a collection now

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    • My only problem with corn starch is explaining why it lives in the bathroom :’)
      It was bad enough the last time my (cis male) partner followed me into the bathroom after I had dusted my packer: “Why is your sink full of cocaine?” :’)

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