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Physiochemical Parameters

Fineness

The ‘fineness’ parameter is important because talcum powder is used directly on the skin and sometimes on delicate or sensitive areas of the body. It is also meant to add to physical comfort level.
As per Indian Standard, the residue of powder should not be more than two per cent by mass when passed through a sieve of 75 microns. It should not be more than 0.5 per cent by mass when passed through a sieve of 150 microns.

  • All the tested brands of talcum powder met the requirement for fineness.
  • Spinz was found with the least residue when passed through 75-micron and 150-micron sieves. In terms of performance on this parameter, Spinz is followed by Premium.

Heavy Metals

Tests were carried out to check for the presence of arsenic and lead. Arsenic in talcum powder may cause harmful health effects. As per Indian Standard, arsenic shall not be more than 2 ppm in talcum powder. As for lead, it shall not be more than 20 ppm.

  • All tested brands of talcum powder were found within the limits specified for arsenic and lead.

Matter Insoluble in Boiling Water (% by mass)

As per the Indian Standard, matter insoluble in boiling water should be a minimum 90 per cent by mass. It is a very important parameter to determine the quality of talcum powder.

  • All brands met the minimum requirement.
  • Secret Temptation had the highest percentage of matter insoluble in boiling water, followed by Axe and Wild Stone.
  • Spinz had the least percentage of matter insoluble in boiling water.

Moisture and Volatile Matter

It shall be not more than two per cent by mass.

  • All the brands were within the specified limit.
  • Nivea scored highest, followed by Z and Spinz.

Foreign Particles

On visual examination, the talcum powder should be free from foreign particles.

  • All the brands were found to be free from any visible foreign particles.

Asbestine

Asbestine is a mineral compound composed of nearly pure fibrous magnesium silicate, with physical characteristics between those of asbestos and talc. Trace amounts can be found in talc, which often contains asbestos fibres of various types. Studies point out that asbestos may cause cancers in and around the lungs when inhaled. When talking about whether or not talcum powder is linked to cancer, it is important to distinguish between talc that contains asbestos and talc that is asbestos-free. Talc that has asbestos is generally accepted as being able to cause cancer if it is inhaled. It is not clear if consumer products containing talcum powder increase cancer risk. Studies of personal use of talcum powder have had mixed results, although there is some suggestion of a possible increase in ovarian cancer risk. There is very little evidence at this time that any other forms of cancer are linked with consumer use of talcum powder.
Asbestine was found absent in all the brands, making them safe for use.

Solubility of Colour

This test is to make sure that the product is colourless or only faintly coloured.

  • All the brands cleared this test.

pH

The pH in talcum powder shall be between 5.5 and 10.0.

  • The pH of all tested brands was found to be within the specified range.
  • Yardley scored highest, followed by Secret Temptation and Premium.


Microbiological Activity

Gram-Negative Pathogens and Total Viable Count

Tests were conducted for gram-negative pathogens, which must be less than 10, and total viable count, which must not be more than 1,000 cfu/gm.

  • Gram-negative pathogens were found absent in all the brands tested.
  • Total viable count in all the brands was found within the specified limit.


Sensory Attributes

Physical observation, fragrance, sensation, feelin

Subjective sensory tests were conducted by a panel of users under the supervision of experts. The parameters were: physical observation, fragrance, sensation, feeling after application, and irritation after use.

  • Yardley topped in the overall sensory scores, followed by Premium and Axe.
  • Spinz and Cinthol were liked the least.


General Qualities

Packing

The talcum powder shall be packed in a suitable container that protects it from moisture and atmospheric deterioration. It shall be ensured that the material of packaging has no adverse effects on the powder. Also, the packaging should be so designed as to be convenient to use and the materials should preferably be reusable and recyclable.

  • Yardley and Z were packed in metal containers.
  • The rest of the brands were in plastic containers.

Product Net Weight

The net weight in all the brands was found to be true to the declared value – in fact, their measured values were marginally above the declared weight

Marking/Labelling

The packaging is required to be marked with a) name and type of material
b) batch number/lot number
c) manufacturer’s/marketer’s address and trademark, if any
d) month and year of manufacture
e) net mass when packed
f) a list of key ingredients used in the manufacture
g) maximum retail price (MRP)
h) instructions for use, if any
i) disposability instructions for the containers, if any
j) expiry date or ‘best used before’ ( month and year to be indicated)
k) manufacturing license number.

  • All the tested brands provided the required information on their labels.