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October 1947


Arch Derm Syphilol. 1947;56(4):468-470. doi:10.1001/archderm.1947.01520100064010

THE NOXIOUS effect of talcum as used in surgeons' gloves has been stressed in the recent surgical literature.1 This nonabsorbable powder causes a pronounced foreign body reaction in traumatized tissue and in the body cavities of both man and experimental animals (chest, abdomen, rectum, uterus, vagina). The commonest form of this reaction is chronic inflammation of the granulomatous type, progressing to the final stage of fibrosis, which when it occurs in the body cavities leads to the formation of more or less dense adhesions.

In view of these by-effects of talcum, a substitute powder has been recommended.1a This substitute is commercial corn starch, which as a result of treatment with formaldehyde has undergone a change in molecular structure. This change completely robs the starch of its gelatinizing properties, so that even when boiled or steamed in an autoclave it remains a free-flowing dusting powder.

The problem immediately calling