Baby Powder

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Why is talcum powder harmful?

Jul 21, 2009 Author: Jessica | Filed under: Talcum Powder

Baby powder is also known as talcum powder, when it consists primarily of talcum/talc. Talc has an eerie similarity with absestos which has the potential to be carcinogenic. Because of this, there are rules which limit the amount of fibers, like the ones present in asbestos, present in talcum powder. Many argue that talcum powder should not be used at all. This is because of a study conducted during the last decade which reported that talc caused tumerous growth in the test animals, even when it was used without any fibers (the absestos like ones which are carcinogenic in nature).

Another study found a link between the usage of talc in the female genital area and the occurrence of ovarian cancer. According to that study, there was a direct link between these two. The same study reports that talcum particles move through the body’s reproductive system, and will settle down somewhere near the ovary linings. Yet another reason that talc is considered harmful is that it is harmful to the lungs. The proof for this is the high occurrence of lung cancer among the miners who mine talc. Kids are also at high risk of developing lung infections, as a result of ingesting talcum powder.

So, in conclusion: yes, talcum powder does prevent diaper rashes, and it does have many cosmetic uses. But, when baby powder is composed mainly of talc, the risks outweigh the benefits, according to many studies. So, it may be prudent to minimize the usage of talcum powder, especially for small babies!

Baby Powder and Talcum

May 10, 2009 Author: Jessica | Filed under: Baby Powder, Talcum Powder

Talcum powder consists of finely ground magnesium silicate. Zinc and magnesium stearate may be present as well.  Nowadays, talc is found in a lot of consumer products. Many varieties of baby powders still contain talc as their principal ingredient.

Scientists have found striking similarities between talc particles and asbestos. In 1993, a National Toxicology Program report found that talc, without any asbestos, caused tumors in animals. Testing has not been done with humans. So, cosmetic grade talc is still not regulated by the government.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers non-asbestiform talc, that is talc which does not contain potentially carcinogenic asbestiform amphibole fibers, to be Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) for use in cosmetics. Scientists are still researching the link between talc and ovarian cancer. This is because women apply talc in their groin area. No conclusive report has been prepared by anyone, and the link still has not been established.

As of now, there is no hard evidence to suggest that talcum powder causes cancer in babies. However, if the baby inhales talcum powder, that is definitely dangerous. If you want to be on the safe side of things, use baby powders which are based on non-talcum ingredients, like corn starch.

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