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Magnesium Silicate

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jan 8, 2024.

Excipient (pharmacologically inactive substance)

What is it?

Magnesium silicate (MgSiO3) when hydrated is most commonly known as "talc". In the pharmaceutical industry it is used as an anticaking agent to improve powder flow in tablet compression. Talc is used cosmetically in talcum and baby powder as an adsorbent. Talc has been reported to be used in some food products, and is generally recognized as safe by the FDA.[1]

Natural talc contains asbestos, a substance that may lead to lung cancer. However, talcum products used in cosmetics have been free of asbestos since the 1970s.[2] Some studies have reported small increases in ovarian cancer with the use of asbestos-free talcum powder, but studies are conflicting and the results are not definitive. The American Cancer Society suggests corn starch-based cosmetics might be an alternative in those concerned about talc use.[2]

List of medications using Magnesium Silicate


  1. FDA’s SCOGS database; Magnesium silicate, Report No. 61, 1979.; ID Code: 1343-88-0;; accessed August 18, 2011.
  2. American Cancer Society. Talcum Powder and Cancer. Accessed August 18, 2011.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.