You would think that baby products are made to be as non-toxic as possible, but studies have shown that an alarming amount of products marketed towards children are not as safe than they are advertised to be.
Unfortunately, talcum powder is one of these products. Not only is it present in baby powder, it’s also a common ingredient in a large variety of cosmetic and hygiene products.
What’s Talcum Powder?
Talcum powder is made from talc, a mineral. As a powder, ithas hydrophobic surface properties which helps absorb moisture and helps cut down on friction, making it useful for keeping skin dry and helping to prevent rashes.
It is widely used in cosmetic products such as baby powder and adult body and facial powders, as well as in a number of other consumer products. via Cancer
How Does It Affect Babies?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, baby powder is no longer recommended for treatment or prevention of diaper rash (1).
This is because Talc has been implicated in many reports of lung irritation, respiratory distress, respiratory failure and even death upon inhalation.
“Long term excessive exposures to talc may cause Talcosis, a pulmonary fibrosis which may in turn lead to severe and permanent damage to the lung,” warns the US Occupational Health And Safety Administration (2).
There have been many documented cases of pulmonary talcosis as a result of recurrent aspiration of baby powder.
Health specialists have warned: “Overzealous application of baby powder can produce severe pulmonary complications if the infant inspires the powder (3).”
Some people believe that Talcosis is caused by asbestos but even asbestos-free products have caused the condition (4).
How Does It Affect Women?
Some women have taken up the habit of applying talcum powder all over their body, including their genital area and unto sanitary napkins, diaphragms, or condoms.
It’s been suggested that talcum powder applied in these ways can travel through the vagina, uterus, and fallopian tubes to the ovary.
In fact, talc use on the genitalia may modestly increase the risk of invasive serous ovarian cancer (5).
“As many as 10,000 women develop ovarian cancer each year as a result of baby powder use,” says Harvard epidemiologist Dr. Daniel Cramer (6).
Some of the companies that produce talcum powder products are aware of these risks.
August 12, 1982, New York Times article entitled ‘Talcum Company Calls Study on Cancer Link Inconclusive,’ Johnson and Johnson admitted being aware of the 1982 Cramer study that concluded women were three times more likely to contract ovarian cancer after daily use of talcum powder in the genital area (7).”
That’s not all, a 2010 study found that perineal talcum powder use also increases the risk of endometrial cancer, particularly among postmenopausal women (8).
Ladies, if you are still using talcum powder as part of your beauty routine, by all means, please stop. It’s not doing you, or your children any good.