Baby powder, or talcum powder, has been a go-to product to prevent rashes, cool skin and freshen up for quite some time. This product takes up space on many store shelves, but some have suggested that talcum powder may be linked to ovarian cancer.
This is because talc powder has chemical similarities to asbestos, a known carcinogen found in fire-resistant and insulating materials. In the 1970s, 10 out of 20 cosmetic-grade talc samples tested positive for asbestos. However, Johnson & Johnson, a talc powder manufacturer, declared that their products were asbestos free.
The Cramer Study
In 1982, 215 women, suffering from ovarian cancer, participated in a study made to analyze the correlation between talc powder and ovarian cancer. 43% of women reported using cosmetic-grade talc powder on their genital areas.
The study revealed that talc powder can remain in ovaries for many years, causing inflammation and creating a cancerous environment.
Here are the stats:
- Talcum powder was proven to increase the risk of ovarian cancer by 33%
- 10,000 women develop ovarian cancer as a result of baby powder use
- Women are three times more likely to develop ovarian cancer when it is used in the genital area
So why is talcum powder still on the shelves?
Despite the results of the study, a 1999 study using the same women stated that the association between talc powder and ovarian cancer was “modest” and that previous studies had results that were not of “statistical significance.”
The 1999 study has its own limitations however. Researchers had no way of verifying the duration of talc powder use and how that relates to ovarian cancer. Also, the study was only done with women who had already been pregnant. The effects of talc use prior to a woman’s first pregnancy were not analyzed here.
Are researchers trying to calm our nerves or protect the pockets of big companies like Johnson & Johnson? It’s hard to say. But there’s no need to wait around while you potentially put your life in jeopardy.
There are many healthy alternatives to talc powder. Many of these alternatives work even better: they are lighter, more absorbent, and soft. Here are seven alternatives you can find in your grocery store:
In addition to being natural, cornstarch is not as easily inhaled as talcum powder. Inhaling talcum powder can damage your immune system.
2. Arrowroot Powder
This is a light-weight, white powder that makes your skin feel soft and smooth.
3. Chickpea Powder
Mixing this useful powder with olive oil is great for combating dry skin. Used on its own, chickpea powder is great for oily skin.
4. Corn Flour
Corn flour is commonly used to soothe skin rashes and irritation.
5. Rice Flour
When mixed with a tablespoon of yogurt, this flour aids in treating wrinkles, skin pigmentation and blemishes.
6. Oat Flour
Got scarring from acne or chickenpox? Oat flour helps to minimize these unflattering marks. Oat flour is also used to relieve itching i.e. from bug bites or sores.