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STOP using talcum powder on your baby! Here's why

Here is why using talcum powder for infants and young children is dangerous.

Written by Debjani Arora |Published : May 5, 2016 3:43 PM IST

Talcum powder is one of the best buys for new mothers and for obvious reasons. While your mothering instincts will tell you to get the best for your baby, the marketing world will do its best to convince you that you are compromising on your baby s hygiene if you are not buying one. So, if you are trying to justify you motherly instincts by buying talcum powder for your baby, let us tell you that you are committing a huge parenting mistake. It s not that we are against the splurging spree that a new mother goes on after her baby arrives; it s just that it can do your baby a lot of damage. No, we aren t against any brand, there are enough studies that suggest that any talcum powder is not good for your baby. Here are few reasons:

It can cause lung infections

Many talcum powders contain toxic elements that can be dangerous for your child. One study done to estimate how much talcum powder an infant can inhale during an application showed that the amount was way higher than the actual limitation even if you used the talc sparingly. The matter of concern is that in the process, your child inhales the toxic compounds present in the talc -- usually silicate or asbestos components that can lead to lung infections in future [1].

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It can be a potential risk factor for cancer

There are many studies that say application of talc on the genital areas of a girl child can lead to ovarian cancer in adulthood or increase one s chances from suffering from the same. The association has been established by at least 25 studies done over a period. Due to lack of awareness most mothers use talc in the genital area to keep the area dry and off infections. But this little protective tactic is the reason that makes one prone to ovarian cancer [2].

What should you do?

If you are still interested to use talc on your baby, we suggest you look for natural options that don t contain the toxic elements that can harm your baby. Some natural alternatives to packaged talcum powders are:

1. Arrowroot powder: This is a herb-based powder available in most Ayurvedic or organic stores and is soft against baby s sensitive skin. Usually, arrowroot is used with corn starch to make non-toxic baby powders.

2. Cornstarch: This is a naturally available ingredient and can replace toxic baby powders without much fuss. You can apply this directly on your baby s skin as it helps to keep the body dry without any known risk of infection.


[1] Moon, M. C., Park, J. D., Choi, B. S., Park, S. Y., Kim, D. W., Chung, Y. H., ... & Yu, I. J. (2011). Risk Assessment of Baby Powder Exposure through Inhalation. Toxicological research, 27(3), 137.

[2] Muscat, J. E., & Huncharek, M. S. (2008). Perineal talc use and ovarian cancer: a critical review. European journal of cancer prevention: the official journal of the European Cancer Prevention Organisation (ECP), 17(2), 139.

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