There are millions of products on the market that promise to protect and nourish your baby’s skin, but buyer be ware, says Katherine Martinko with TreeHugger.com. “The unsurprising irony is that none of that is necessary. Your baby’s skin is far better off with minimal intervention,” she writes in an article titled, “7 chemicals and toxins to avoid when buying baby products.”
“Mainstream baby products contain numerous toxic ingredients that will enter your baby’s body if used,” she writes. The first ingredient she warns mothers about is talcum powder, the main ingredient in baby powder.
Talc is used as a drying agent, but it is also a known lung irritant and may also be carcinogenic since it contains asbestos. When this came to light in the 1990s, many companies say they have removed the asbestos from their powders. However, that is not a cure-all for what ails talc.
Gillian Deacon describes in her book There’s Lead in Your Lipstick: “Since it is virtually impossible to extract the talc from the asbestos during the mining process, the carcinogenic contaminant is almost invariably going to be carried over into any consumer product containing talc.”
Even talc-free powders contain ingredients that can be dangerous and are made up of other ingredients on Martinko’s “7 chemicals and toxins” list.
It can be hard to conceive how a product considered to be safe for babies and adults can actually cause serious problems. But recent studies have linked use of baby powder in the genital area for personal hygiene to ovarian cancer. The powder can travel through the uterus, up the fallopian tubes, and into the ovaries triggering cancerous growth.
Last year a woman successfully sued consumer health care giant Johnson & Johnson after developing ovarian cancer after years of using the company’s Shower to Shower body powder on her genitals. The jury decided that Johnson & Johnson was aware that studies had linked the powder to ovarian cancer but failed to warn consumers.
Johnson & Johnson faces hundreds more baby powder ovarian cancer lawsuits.