You might have heard in the news or seen online that a company recently lost a case against a woman who claimed that she developed ovarian cancer after decades of using the company’s baby powder.
But is it really true that using baby powder causes cancer?
First off, what exactly is baby powder made of? Baby powder, or talcum powder, is made from a mineral called talc. Talc is a naturally occurring mineral and has been widely used not only in baby powder but also in cosmetics.
Talcum powder has been widely used to absorb moisture and to reduce friction, making it especially useful for moms who use it to prevent their babies’ skin from chafing when they wear diapers. Some people also use talcum powder to prevent chafing or sweating around their genitals, or near their rectum.
According to the National Cancer Institute in the US, the current evidence regarding talcum powder and ovarian cancer “does not support an association between perineal talc exposure and an increased risk of ovarian cancer.” However, naturally occurring talc has been known to also contain asbestos, a known carcinogen.
Tests have been conducted on baby powder and talcum products before, and they have all been found to be “asbestos-free.” So does this mean that talc isn’t to blame?
So should people stop or continue using talcum powder?
Currently, there’s still no conclusive proof of whether or not talc can cause cancer. Some studies back in the 1960’s have shown a connection between talc and ovarian cancer but there are also studies that say otherwise.
There are also a lot of factors that can cause cancer, so it’s difficult to know for sure if using talcum powder is safe or not.
For parents who are concerned about talcum powder, then it would be best to err on the side of caution and avoid using it or only use it sparingly. There are cornstarch based products that serve a similar purpose as talcum powder and there aren’t any reported cases of cornstarch causing cancer.
There are cornstarch based products available in the market that serve a similar purpose as talcum powder and there aren’t any reported cases of cornstarch causing cancer.
At the end of the day, the decision is really up to you as a parent. If you have been using baby powder for a long time, and you’ve seen no ill effects, then you can continue using it on your kids and on yourself. But if you’re worried about your children getting sick, then you can opt to use any of the available alternatives.
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