Last updated: May 26, 2016
Johnson & Johnson has hit the news again, this time with having to pay $72 million in damages to an Alabama woman (now sadly deceased) who claimed the company’s baby talcum powder and other products caused her ovarian cancer. Johnson’s baby powder is regularly added to baby registries because it’s just part of diaper changing, right? No, we’re here to change your thoughts on this very, very important topic.
What is talc?
Talc is a naturally occurring mineral found in baby powders. Its main job is to reduce moisture, therefore reducing diaper rashes. But, the fine particles can be harmful if your baby breathes them in. Pediatricians began discouraging it for health reasons as far back as 1985 (read the archive here). The main ingredient/culprit (talc) has not changed since then. In addition, talc in its natural form may contain asbestos, a known carcinogen. The FDA does not allow talc-based products to contain any asbestos. However, these products don’t have to be reviewed or approved by the FDA, so there’s no guarantee that they haven’t been contaminated. So, can “asbestos-free” talc cause ovarian cancer? It’s unclear, but as we continue to say, why would you ever take the risk, especially with your baby? Honestly, we can’t believe this stuff is still on the market. Here is our free, non-toxic, powder-free alternative: YOUR BREATH. So let’s walk through the diaper change:
- When you remove the dirty diaper, it’s best to have an absorbent layer underneath, just in case (we love these super-absorbent prefolds).
- Thoroughly wipe and clean soiled area with a homemade or nontoxic wipe.
- Now here’s the trick to preventing diaper rash: dry the area very, very well. Use the prefold to pat dry and blow. Then pat dry again. Then blow. Make sure the entire area is very dry before the next step, so moisture isn’t trapped in (the cause of most diaper rashes).
- Apply a nontoxic moisturizer for rash prevention. Our favorites: a thin layer of unrefined organic coconut oil or Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm (both cloth-diaper friendly.)
Whatever your diaper-changing routine is, please please please don’t add any talc-based powder to it. Your baby will thank you.