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How Safe is Talcum powder?

By Jak Burke,

Johnson & Johnson are currently in the dock facing over 1,000 suits against it from adults. This coming after they were ordered to pay $10m in damages to the family of Jackie Fox – a woman who died from ovarian cancer. They were also slammed with a $62m punishment award for allegedly concealing links between use of their talcum powder and ovarian cancer in adult women.  Jackie Fox had used Johnson & Johnson talc powder for 30-years, applying it to her private areas after showering.

While we shouldn’t be quick to connect adult cancer and talc use to talc use and infant health – it would be wise to avoid anything that could have a long-term effect. Otherwise we are playing Russian roulette with our child’s health.

What’s in talcum powder?

Talc is the main ingredient in talcum powder – hence its name. It is derived from mining then crushing talc rock which contains minerals like magnesium and silicon. Once upon a time talcum powder also contained asbestos but now that is forbidden. However, talc does contain tiny fibers that take years to dissolve – fibers that can easily find their way into our baby’s lungs.

What does it do?

Talcum powder absorbs excess moisture and thus adds a layer or a buffer on the skin – which is why it has been so popular amongst women for years. But in a recent study involving 2,000 women who used talcum powder on their genital areas between 20-30% were put at an increased risk of ovarian cancer. The powder’s particles was found to travel into the vagina and up into the fallopian tubes.

These findings are disturbing. If talc can travel into a woman’s body and cause problems to the point of an increased risk in cancer … how can we not expect the same risks if talc is applied regularly to a baby’s genital area? While we have no evidence to establish this perhaps its wise for parents to source other ways to soothe an infant’s wet skin?

Baby powder is an $18.8 million dollar market in the U.S (Statistic brain Research Group). Around 19% of households use Johnson & Johnson baby powder (Statista). That’s a massive market that Johnson & Johnson could lose if they fail to remedy their previous corporate behavior. Parents have a long memory. As someone who grew up with Johnson & Johnson baby products I hope they get it right. But other brands who sell products to parents should take heed and go the natural route.

Tips for a dry bottom

Make sure you dry your baby’s bottom area thoroughly before dressing. This should not involve vigorous rubbing. Rather, allow the air to dry out any creases in our infant’s skin and then gently follow up with a soft fluffy towel. Giving our baby’s genital area daily “diaper-free” air time is a healthy practice. For parents looking for a safer alternative to Johnson & Johnson we recommend using HONEST organic baby powder. But use it sparingly. Never cake a baby’s skin in powder. Be sure to dust away from your infant’s nose and mouth. Here’s why we love HONEST baby powder:

Certified organic formula keeps skin feeling soft, dry, and comfortable
Corn starch and kaolin clay absorb moisture — without the use of talc
Aloe vera soothes irritated, itchy skin
Infused with arrowroot powder and lactobacillus extract
All Natural • Talc-Free • Hypoallergenic • Ultra Absorbent • Plant-Based • Safe • Pediatricially Tested

It is made without: talc, gluten, phthalates, parabens, fragrances, dyes, or most common allergens.

(This is not a sponsored post.)

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