The Dangers Of Talc: Is Baby Powder Secretly Harming Your Child?


Ah, the smell of baby powder. With its distinct fragrance and nostalgic scent, it can make diaper duty that much more enjoyable. Plus, it helps keep your baby’s bottom rash free. What’s not to love? Turns out, maybe everything.

Talc (also known as talcum) is a naturally occurring mineral in the earth and the softest in the world. When crushed and milled to a fine powder it becomes what is called talcum powder, a heavily refined substance that is used in a wide range of household and cosmetic products – including baby powder.

While many sources claim that it is completely safe, for example, Johnson & Johnson whose baby powder is one of their brand’s oldest and most well-known products, other sources have raised concerns regarding the potential dangers of talc. In particular, the American Pediatric Association (APA) who recommends NOT using baby powder at all on your little one.

Because of the refinement process of talc and the resulting fine powder it creates, they warn about the possible inhalation risk and the potential harm it can cause your baby. Every time you use baby powder, particles are inevitably released into the air and these particles once inhaled, pose the risk of causing respiratory problems, including breathing trouble and serious lung damage. Even small amounts can irritate a baby’s tiny lungs.

With such high risk so closely associated with baby powder, many parents are now opting not to use it at all. Thankfully there are much safer alternatives available that you can use instead. The APA recommends using a petroleum jelly based product such as Vaseline or A+D Ointment. There is also cornstarch based baby powders available, which, because of their larger particles, are not as easily inhaled as the talc-based ones. Still, proper application is the most critical factor in preventing any potential risk.

Here are some tips to help you apply it safely:

·      Use sparingly.
·      Apply to your hands away from the baby and then transfer to diaper area.
·      Keep away from any area where it can be inhaled.
·      Store the bottle out of reach of children.

At the end of the day, avoiding baby powder all together is probably your safest option. And if you’re really worried about diaper rashes, you can always ditch the diaper for a while to allow everything to air out naturally.


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