Recent lawsuits and research found that baby powder can cause cancer. Other experts claim baby powder can be safely used. But with the lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based products, one can only wonder if they are safe to use, or they should stop using them.
According to Morgan Statt who is an investigator with ConsumerSafety.org, “studies and expert opinions still fall on both sides of the argument.”
In the baby powder composition, there is talcum powder, which is created from mineral talc. Starting with the 1970s, many studies have linked ovarian cancer to women that used talc on their genital area. One of the studies found that 75% of ovarian cancer tumors contained talc. Other studies showed that using talcum powder near the genitals could increase the risk of epithelial ovarian cancer by 20-30%. Statt explains that talc particles in the baby powder can “travel through the vagina and inflame ovarian tissues,” and that in time, “cysts may develop and lead to the diagnosis.”
Baby Powder Containing Talcum – Dangerous for Infants
Moreover, research shows that baby powder dries out mucus membranes, and it can lead to respiratory diseases (asthma, lung fibrosis, pneumonia, pulmonary talcosis, and even respiratory failure).
The American Academy of Pediatrics started in 1969 to warn parents about the dangers caused after using talcum powder on babies. In its natural form, talc can contain asbestos – known to cause a deadly type of cancer (mesothelioma).
Even if it was proven it’s not safe, prospective studies never found a connection between baby powder and cancer. This is why companies still use talc in baby powder, makeup, deodorants, supplements, and vitamins.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer stated that talc is “non-carcinogenic” when inhaled and it is “possibly carcinogenic” if applied to the genital area. Meanwhile, Cancer Research UK sees no legitimate link between cancer and talcum.
Statt agrees that the scientific and legal communities still debate if talcum powder is safe to use, but “that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take caution.”
A safe alternative to talcum powder are products that replace talcum with cornstarch and arrowroot powder.
Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere