Paper No. 216-4
Presentation Time: 8:55 AM
ELECTRON MICROSCOPY INVESTIGATION OF SAMPLES OF JOHNSON’S BABY POWDER SHOWS A VARIETY OF CONTAMINANTS
Mineralogical impurities of consumer talc products have been recognized since at least the 1970s with major efforts focused on the identification and characterization of asbestos minerals. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) can identify other mineralogical impurities (and/or contaminants) in consumer talc products. In this study, samples of Johnson’s Baby Powder products were examined via TEM and SEM in order to determine if multiple contaminants were present. Examples of a variety of particles that are impurities occur, including a variety of minerals, fibers, and metal-rich near amorphous particles. SEM investigation of some sample material indicates the presence of Bi, Cu, Pb, Sn, and Zn. Additionally, examples of trace or minor nickel content in talc particles were present in one studied product using both SEM and TEM. An anhedral uranium particle, and a dolomite particle with minor Zn, were also observed by TEM. Talc fibers are common in some products. TEM data also indicates that other impurities can exist in samples. Examples of fibers tentatively identified as anthophyllite asbestos (n=2) and one fiber tentatively identified as tremolite asbestos (n=1) were observed. A glass impurity dominated by Si with lesser amounts of Na, Mg, Al, K, and Ca, and trace amounts of Cr and Co was observed. An amorphous glass and metal bearing aggregate with appreciable Ti, Cr, Mn, Fe and Ni were observed. Results indicated a complex range of impure materials in the studied powders. The fact that impurities or contaminants of concern are observed in multiple samples opens numerous questions as to their origin and potential impact. Detailed studies of the mineralogical and geochemical variation within these talc products over the history of production should be done in order to better understand their occurrence and the potential for glass, metal, and radiological contaminants. The findings of this work are broadly consistent with other studies of commercial talc products and may point to larger contamination issues within the industry.