Have you just given your little butter ball (your baby) his or her bath? Or perhaps you’ve just given the little darling his/ her nappy change? If you have; then chances are you’ve also powdered the little one’s bottom to absorb excess moisture, and soothe as well as calm the skin from any cases of / prevention of nappy rash, irritations and rashes from toilet training. It’s one of the fundamental rules of caring for a baby.
Now take a look at your bottle of baby power. What made you select this particular brand? Was your choice influenced by :
- a. The scent of the powder
- b. The adorable and convincingly good for baby packaging that it came in
- c. The base content of the powder
- d. The fame of the brand; or
- e. The recommendation of someone you know
Alright so most of us do not make important decisions based on just one criterion. We have a few and then we arrange them in the order of priority. A tad like old board game mastermind, whichever matches our order to the tee or the closest to it, is the one we opt for.
Mind you selecting baby powder for your infant is hardly a simple task or one to be belittled. Your choice of baby powder could spell the difference between life and death for your baby, primarily because of the key ingredient talc.
What exactly is talc?
Talc is essentially a mineral composed of hydrated magnesium silicate that has been well characterized by studies to show similar structure to asbestos – a well known cancer causing agent.
If you aren’t convinced how deadly this mineral can be, then perhaps the knowledge that it isn’t just used as an astringent in baby powder but instead is in fact a “tough” and widely used important industrial mineral will change your mind.
Talc, the very same compound in your bottle of baby powder has resistance to heat, electricity and acids making it an ideal surface for lab counter tops as well as electrical switchboards. It is also commonly and widely used as a filler material for paints, rubber and insecticides. Doesn’t sound very infant friendly now does it?
Talcum powder is harmful if inhaled since it may cause repertory issues such as aspiration pneumonia or granuloma. It hasn’t yet been solidly proven, but research has been getting closer to showing the link between talc powder and cancer (especially ovarian cancer).
So the question remains, if the danger of exposure to talc powder are so prominent and life threatening, why and how is it that authorities still allow for them to be included in our everyday products (condoms, deodorants, chalk, crayons, cosmetics etc) let alone products that touch the skin of defenceless infants?
Honestly I’m not sure; the closest the FDA ever came to addressing the issue was to limit the amount of asbestos-like fibers in cosmetic grade talc. Asbestiform describes the mineral habit of minerals that are formed in a fibrous state that resembles asbestos; i.e. carcinogen by nature. However you should note that in 1993, a National Toxicology Program report found that cosmetic grade talc (non asbestiform talc), caused tumors in animal subjects (not in the slightest an animal friendly measure but what’s done is done and best we learn from it so the sacrifice is not done in vain).
Thus, I would therefore conclude that with or without asbestiform content, talc is indeed a carcinogen and I would not risk my baby’s health over it. For all parents out there, I would suggest you take charge and switch to Organic Baby Powder where it will be made with safe cornstarch.