Talc is used in many industries—including paper making, plastic, paint and coatings, rubber, food, electric cable, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and ceramics. A coarse grayish-green high-talc rock is soapstone or steatite, used for stoves, sinks, electrical switchboards, crayons, soap, etc. It is often used for surfaces of lab counter tops and electrical switchboards because of its resistance to heat, electricity and acids. Talc finds use as a cosmetic (talcum powder), as a lubricant, and as a filler in paper manufacture. Talc, with heavy refinement, has been used in baby powder, an astringent powder used to prevent diaper rash. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents not use baby powder because it poses a risk of respiratory problems—including breathing trouble and serious lung damage if the baby inhales it. The particles are so small, it is difficult to keep them out of the air while applying the powder. Zinc oxide-based ointments are a much safer alternative.
It is also often used in basketball to keep a player's hands dry. Most tailor's chalk, or French chalk, is talc, as is the chalk often used for welding or metalworking.