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Baby Powder Products Containing Talcum Powder

Talcum Powder in Baby Power Products

Baby powder products today commonly contain talcum powder. What many do not know about this ingredient is that it can cause certain types of cancer and may lead to death.

What is Talcum Powder?

Talcum powder, also known as talc, is a natural mineral that is used to produce everyday products such as cosmetics, foods and baby powder. This mineral is defined in chemical terms as hydrous magnesium silicate. It consists of hydrogen, oxygen, magnesium, and silicon.

Why is Talcum Powder Used in Baby Powder?

Talcum powder is used in baby powder and other products to absorb moisture and reduce chafing.  Consumers use talc-based baby powders to prevent diaper rashes during changes. Women have commonly used the product as well for feminine hygiene purposes.

How Bad is Baby Powder?

The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend the use of baby powder products containing talcum powder. The reason being is that the talcum powder used as an ingredient in these products can cause difficulties in breathing for babies. This happens when the babies inhale the tiny particles of the baby powder that are carried in the air during a diaper change. When a baby inhales talc-based baby powder, it can dry their mucous membranes which can affect their breathing. Through extended use, this product can lead to serious lung damage.

Shortness of breath and wheezing in babies have been shown in studies relating to the use of baby powder products containing talcum powder. These studies have also found that some infants that inhaled the powder developed pneumonia and even passed away due to respiratory failure. These products are not recommended to be used around older children or adults who suffer from asthma. The reason behind this is that these victims that suffer from this condition can experience irritation when they inhale the powder.

The use of talc-based baby powder in women has also been linked to ovarian cancer. This link was first established in the 1970s when some of the talc-based products contained asbestos particles. Studies have shown that feminine hygiene products containing talc can lead to this type of cancer. This ingredient can travel through the fallopian tubes and other organs of the body before entering the ovaries. When this ingredient settles in the ovaries, it can cause cells in the ovaries to reproduce rapidly. Unfortunately, this later turns into ovarian cancer.

Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder Lawsuit

In 2016, St. Louis, Missouri jury handled a lawsuit brought by a plaintiff from Modesto, against Johnson & Johnson. She used the Baby Powder and Shower to Shower soap produced by Johnson & Johnson for her regular routine. In 2012, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer which has metastasized to Stage IV since her diagnosis. This stage of cancer is oftentimes considered fatal because it is the advanced form of cancer that has spread to other regions of the body.

Through extensive research, the Modesto woman found that the products she was using were linked to the disease that was altering her way of living. She initiated a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson. On October 27, 2016, the jury ordered the Johnson & Johnson company to compensate for her losses. Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay her almost $67.5 million, comprising of compensatory and punitive damages.

Another company was also ordered to compensate her for her losses. Imerys Talc America, Inc. paid her nearly $2.7 million in compensatory and punitive damages. The jury ordered these companies to pay because of their failure to warn female consumers, which they still fail to do to this day. This verdict sends a clear message that talc-based products can increase the risk of developing ovarian cancer and perhaps other types of serious illness.

Baby Powder Alternatives

According to Michael Grosso, Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics and chief medical officer at the Northwell Health Huntington Hospital in New York, there are various alternatives for baby powder products containing talcum powder. Grosso’s statement in an email established that the best remedy for a baby’s bottom is to go bare without products when practical. Grosso stated that many pediatricians, including himself, also recommend products that are petroleum jelly-based such as A+D ointment or regular Vaseline to be used instead of talc-based baby powder.

Other Agencies report, another alternative would be cornstarch-based baby powder products. Although this product contains larger particles, it is believed to not be as harmful as talc-based baby powder. However, it is important to follow the advice of your doctor when applying any product on an infant including this one. It is equally important to keep baby’s lungs free of any floating particles, therefore, review the following suggested steps on how to apply this product correctly:

  • Before you apply the product, keep it at a reasonable distance to the diaper and away from any area where the product can be inhaled.
  • Use little product as possible.
  • This product can be placed on the hands to apply or by sprinkling the product sparingly over the diaper area.

Related Content by Edward A Smith:

Sacramento Talcum Powder Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento talcum powder injury lawyer. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ovarian or uterine cancer resulting from the use of talc-based products, please call me promptly at (916) 921-6400 for free and friendly advice. Or, call me toll-free at (800) 404-5400.

I am a member of the California chapter of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. We are a group of top-ranked trial attorneys in the United States who have obtained verdicts in excess of 1 Million Dollars.

Check out my Past Verdicts and Settlements here.

My client reviews are listed here: Google, Avvo, and Yelp.

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Image Credit: By Mattman723 (Self-photographed) via Wikimedia Commons


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