Because the particles in talcum powder are so fine and light, if breathed in quantities, it can dry out the nasal passages and obstruct the airways. They can easily enter the lungs and set up an inflammatory reaction. This inflammatory reaction can cause short term problems such as pneumonia as well as chronic problems such as lung disease and cancer. Studies have found a link between talcum powder and breathing problems, pneumonia or swelling of the airways or even asthma. This is the reason why babies should not be allowed to play with talcum powder (if used on them) or to inhale talcum powder. As a consequence, talc manufacturers have played down the link, whilst doing there best to ensure that their powders contain no asbestos fibres. Unfortunately, this isn’t enough.