Can Baby Powder Cause Cancer?

By | Mar 18, 2016 | Asbestos Products

Many people are expressing concern over the link between baby powder and cancer. The fact is that baby powder does not cause cancer, but the talc within it might.

Johnson & Johnson's baby powder

Talcum Powder

Talcum powder is a white, soft powder made from talc. In a powder form, talc is absorbent and reduces friction, making it perfect for treating things like diaper rash and other irritations.

While talc is not officially classified as a human carcinogen, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that talc-containing baby powder can cause respiratory problems in infants. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that miners who inhale talc have increased risks for developing chronic respiratory diseases and lung cancer.

Asbestos Exposure

Even more frightening to find out is that talc can be contaminated with asbestos, a carcinogen known to cause cancer in exposed individuals. While today’s talc products manufactured in the United States are believed to be asbestos-free, we can not completely control the quality of products imported from other countries. Just last year, crayons manufactured with asbestos-containing talc were imported from overseas and sold in Bay Area retailers.

Other Options

Ultimately, it is unclear whether consumer products containing talcum powder increase the risk of developing cancer. Fortunately, not all baby powder contains talc. There are talc-free options available on the market for consumers who are concerned with cancer risks.

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