Baby powder is just one of the products that Johnson & Johnson manufactures. Baby powder consists of talcum powder produced from talc. There is a link between talcum powder and cancer because, in some cases, it contains asbestos, which is a carcinogen, according to the National Cancer Institute. Consumers that purchased and used Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder could potentially have an increased risk of developing certain types of cancer. Reuters reports that the company knew of these traces of asbestos for years, which is why it is facing lawsuits for mesothelioma and ovarian cancer today.
Talcum powder is made of talc, a naturally occurring mineral. It can be contaminated by asbestos. Exposure to asbestos can cause cancer, especially if it is inhaled.
Talcum powder has been used for centuries in body care products and cosmetics. It can help to reduce moisture and has been used to prevent diaper rash in babies. Unfortunately, cancers related to talc and asbestos exposure tend to be more prevalent in two forms: mesothelioma and epithelial ovarian cancer. Other types of cancer are possible from exposure to asbestos, however.
Talcum powder is often applied to the genital area of adult women and babies. For this reason, people who use a lot of talcum powder may find that they have an increased risk of developing epithelial ovarian cancer. Researchers believe that this is from the exposure to asbestos that has contaminated the talc inside the powder. Even for brands that claim to be asbestos-free, there is no real way to guarantee that there are no trace amounts of asbestos in any bottle of baby powder.
Products That Use Talcum Powder
Baby powder is not the only commercially available beauty product that may contain talcum powder. Other common products that use talcum powder include:
- Cosmetics: Talc and talcum powder are used in cosmetics to absorb moisture. This makes cosmetics last longer, stops them from clumping, and gives them a more opaque finish.
- Dry shampoo: Talc is used in dry shampoo to absorb moisture, including oils in your hair that will make the shampoo clump when applied.
- Baby products: Babies are prone to rashes because of the moisture trapped in diapers and the rubbing that those diapers cause. Talc controls excess moisture to prevent rashes.
- Deodorants: Deodorants use talc to absorb sweat and keep arms dry, helping to control the growth of bacteria that creates the smell.
This list represents just some of the consumer products that use talcum powder. There are other products that you can find available for purchase that contain talc, especially at home improvement stores.
Not Brand Specific
The cancer risk from talcum powder is not brand specific. It is not just Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder that could contain asbestos. It is all brands of baby powder or talcum powder. Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder is just one example of a talc-based body care product that could potentially be carcinogenic.
All baby powders and talc-based powders have the potential for causing cancer if the talc has been contaminated with asbestos. It is impossible to know for sure that any baby or talcum powder is truly asbestos-free. This is true even if the label says that it is asbestos-free, according to the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health.
Baby Powder Uses
Primarily, baby powder is utilized during diaper changes for three common reasons:
- Preventing diaper rash: Baby powder is designed to absorb moisture and create a barrier between skin and the diaper. This protects the baby from being rubbed by a wet diaper, which irritates the skin and creates a rash.
- Controlling odor: The odors from diapers are generally caused by moisture. As moisture builds, bacteria can grow and produce a smell. Baby powder absorbs that moisture before it sits and begins to smell.
- Reducing moisture: Diapers are not very breathable, so babies tend to sweat inside them. Baby powder absorbs excess moisture, which can prevent smells or rashes and make diapers uncomfortable.
There are other uses for baby powder aside from putting on infants during diaper changes. This includes keeping feet dry while wearing shoes and for feminine hygiene needs. The amount of asbestos exposure that is possible when someone utilizes baby powder regularly is high, which is something that is wrong with Johnson’s baby powder.
Alternatives to Baby Powder
Fortunately, there are alternatives for baby powder available that you can use to enjoy some of the same benefits without possible exposure to asbestos. Some of the alternatives are natural, making them better for your overall health. Cornstarch is the leading alternative to talcum powder. It is widely available in grocery stores. Other starches, like rice starch, arrowroot starch, and tapioca starch, are also viable and natural alternatives. Baking soda is often used as well, which you likely already have around your home.
Discuss Your Potential Legal Case
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with cancer after using Johnson’s baby powder, you could be entitled to compensation related to your losses. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 794-0444 to speak with a member of our legal team to discuss possible options for recourse. Depending upon the specifics of your case, our recommendations may change.