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Can Baby Powder Cause Cancer?

This may be a surprising question to ask. After all, baby powder has been used on babies for decades. Adults have used it for just as long for several reasons. It’s been used to stop chafing, to make those sweaty spots feel better and let’s not forget the fact that baby powder does have a nice smell. How is it possible that such a staple in so many homes is now being considered a major health risk?

A Historic Case Hits the News

Baby powder first appeared on the scene in 1894 when Johnson and Johnson (J&J) began selling it as part of a kit to make childbirth easier. At that time and for decades afterward the main ingredient was crushed talc. Johnson and Johnson are known for their health care and baby care products. In fact, it is one of the largest health care companies in the world. Now it seems baby powder poses a serious health threat to thousands of people, as they have been sued over its cancerous effects.

Talc is found in mines and some of those mines also have naturally occurring asbestos. This latter substance is a known carcinogen. When asbestos-contaminated talcum powder is used over a long period of time it can cause cancer. This has been the case with J&J baby powder. Apparently, J&J executives knew about the health threat as early as the 1970s and ignored it; hence, the lawsuits against the company and others supplying talc.

Baby Powder Containing Corn Starch

Many companies have switched from talc to cornstarch because of the problems with asbestos-contaminated talc. Corn starch does just as well with absorbing moisture and does not have the health risk as talcum powder. Healthcare professionals are advising talc users to reconsider their choices. The European Union has already banned talc from use due to its link with cancer.

Studies are still being carried out to determine the risk of using talcum powder. So far cornstarch has not been found to have any health risks associated with it. Staying informed is important to keep yourself and your family healthy.

The attorneys at Frohlich, Gordon & Beason share information with our fellow community members in the interest of health and well-being. As specialists in personal injury litigation, we see firsthand the devastating results of lives turned upside down. If you have a personal injury case, contact us for a free consultation. We serve the southwest Florida region through our offices located in North Port, Englewood and Port Charlotte.

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