Published Date: 10/10/19
Many generations of parents have used talcum powder because it's great for absorbing moisture and soothing pain caused by friction on a baby's skin. However, it's important to know a few details about talcum powder before using it on a child. Knowing how, where, and when it's appropriate to use talcum powder can keep your child safe.
Keep it Away from Their Face
You should not use talcum powder near your child's face, even if you think it will be soothing. There have been instances where talcum powder contained asbestos, a substance known to cause cancer. Make sure to do all you can to verify that the talcum powder you use is asbestos-free, but don't take any chances by using it near your child's face. A child should not inhale the talcum powder. Besides potentially causing your child to cough and sputter, talcum powder that has asbestos can increase a child's risk of lung cancer later in life.
Avoid Direct Contact with Genitals
It's common for a parent to use talcum powder in a baby's diaper. There is a lot of moisture down there that can cause painful rashes, and talcum powder helps absorb the moisture and soothe the baby. However, it's important to keep talcum powder from making direct contact with a child's genitals. Some studies have indicated that talcum powder increases the risk of ovarian cancer. Even using talcum powder on the surrounding skin near the genitals could be a risk for cancer.
Though researchers are still trying to piece together why this is happening, there is enough evidence to discourage any parent from using talcum powder on a baby's genitals. If you are worried about diaper rash, talk to your child's pediatrician about other options to keep irritation at bay.
The Brand You Choose May Matter
Recent reports called out certain talcum powder manufacturers for knowingly offering a product that contained asbestos. Because talc comes from the earth, asbestos can get mixed up in it, but the fact that this company did not pull the product or place a warning on it led to lawsuits. Although there is no way to know 100 percent if the talcum powder you use is asbestos-free, do as much research as possible before committing to a brand. If you know that a company lacks transparency, don't use their products. Try to find companies that go the extra mile to verify ingredients and offer warnings if they are at all concerned their product might put your child at risk.
Talcum powder is a common personal care product that has been used for generations, but recent concerns over lung infections and certain types of cancer have put it in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. If you still choose to use talcum powder on your child, verify the ingredients, and ask questions to find out if it is safe. If you don't think it's a good choice for your child, know that there are plenty of safe alternatives.
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