Baby powders have contained talc for decades, but recent reports have led families to question its safety – but why? Read on to see what evidence we’ve found that encourages us to avoid talc in baby powder.
This naturally-occurring mineral contains elements like magnesium, silicon and oxygen. Often used in cosmetic products, like baby powder, powder blush and other personal care items, talc’s prevalence in the marketplace is due to its ability to absorb moisture, cut down on friction and prevent caking and chafing. These benefits not only keep babies’ bottoms dry; it also works to dispel odor, making it popular amongst women for use on their inner thighs and/or in sanitary pads.
Although talc is a natural mineral, it’s not automatically safe to use. Because it’s often mined near asbestos, a known carcinogen, manufacturers usually have to take care to avoid contamination. However, although the FDA has banned talc that contains asbestos, some consumers fear that lack of cosmetics regulation has lead to the presence of asbestos in some products on today’s shelves anyway.
However, if women have been using talcum powder for years, then why is it drawing such concern now? Some awareness was raised during a recent lawsuit against consumer products juggernaut Johnson & Johnson for their popular Baby Powder. This class action lawsuit argued that their developing ovarian cancer was linked to their use of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, and they pointed to several studies that show a possible link between tumor development and exposure to talc.
Wondering what the science says? Although these women won their case against Johnson & Johnson, studies are still inconclusive. Although some studies say that the use of asbestos-free talc is safe, and the FDA has approved the use of asbestos-free talc in products, other sources argue that because talcum powder is made of such finely ground particles, they could travel up the mucus membranes, into the vaginal canal and then into one’s ovaries. The presence of these particles could lead not only to inflammation, but eventually cancer. Cause for additional concern comes from The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization (WHO). Because of the availability of limited evidence from human studies, the IARC classifies the genital use of talc-based body powder as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
All in all, not all non-natural products are harmful to your body; in truth, it’s still possible that talc in baby powder could be equally safe. But when you’re talking about your baby and your body, why take the risk? That’s why we’ve decided to avoid talc in baby powder, and to turn to more natural alternatives to stay dry.