11 Alternatives for Baby Powder (and Talcum Powder)

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Baby powder… its not all what we've been lead to believe it is. There are numerous health dangers to using baby powder, especially on babies and on sensitive areas. Thankfully, there are alternatives you can use that are just as effective, and actually healthy for your and your family.

But first… what is wrong with baby powder??

First… Have you heard the news about Johnson & Johnson's Baby Powder being contaminated with asbestos?? 

“Reuters reviewed internal documents indicating the company knew its baby powder was sometimes tainted with asbestos, a known carcinogen, but kept that information from regulators and the public, thereby letting its customers sprinkle asbestos on their bodies–and on their babies–for decades.”

Say what?? Crazy!! The number of lawsuits showing up because of it is mind-blowing. 

I do have to say… I'm forever grateful to not be using baby powder… with a heavy heart for all the people effected by it… even those who do not yet know they and their children have been exposed to a chemical that is deemed unsafe in any amount. 

Another problem with using talcum powder (baby powder)…

While many companies suggest that talc is safe, it has been linked to several cancers, including: ovarian cancer and mesothelioma, and respiratory problems including asthma and pneumonia.

In fact, Johnson & Johnson has also encountered lawsuits about talc leading to ovarian cancer, resulting in being forced to pay 22 women a total of $4.69 BILLION

Another case against Johnson & Johnson awarded $417 MILLION to a woman who received a terminal ovarian cancer diagnosis. with more than 9,000 similar lawsuits happening for similar reasons.

In 2018, Johnson & Johnson and its talc supplier, Imerys SA, was court-ordered to pay $117 million to an investment banker who developed mesothelioma after decades of using Shower to Shower and Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder… citing J&J knew the product contained trace amounts of asbestos and failed to warn customers.

And it isn't just Johnson and Johnson… Colgate-Palmolive has also been the star of several lawsuits too for their talcum powder.

In 2015, Colgate-Palmolive Co. was court-ordered to pay $13 million to a woman diagnosed with mesothelioma after using an asbestos-contaminated talcum powder called Cashmere Bouquet.

A 2015 study by researchers in the Netherlands found that a worker in a chocolate factory developed talcosis, a severe inflammatory lung condition, from inhaling talc.

According to the American Cancer Society, exposure to asbestos may take 20-50 years to develop mesothelioma.

Common products containing talcum powder

  • Baby Powder
  • Makeup (prevents caking): blush, eye shadow, foundation, face powder, mascara, and eye brow pencils
  • Deodorants
  • Various spray and roll on household paints including latex paints
  • National Gypsum ProForm All Purpose Joint Compound
  • Minwax Wood Putty
  • Owens Foamular 150 Extruded Polystyrene Insulation
  • Various ceramic glazes and clays
  • Building materials
  • Some paper products
  • Some plastics
  • Some rubbers (including condoms and contraceptive diaphragms)
  • Chalk
  • Crayons
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Wastewater plants also use talc to purify water

What is crazy to me is that the FDA has not required or removed talc powders from products, and has not required companies to add warning labels.

Is Johnson's & Johnson's safe to use now?

I hear this question a lot after all the media exposure about the lawsuits, and personally, I say no.

Despite all the legal problems they've encountered, they are standing by their product and not changing anything. Just like they say their products have been free from asbestos since the 1970s (which is also not true)

I do not personally trust them or their baby powder either. One reason… their talcum powder for women now carries a cancer warning stating: “frequent application of talcum powder in the female genital area may increase the risk of ovarian cancer.” However… the warning is NOT shared on baby powder products.

This begs the question…

What are good baby powder alternatives???

Thankfully… there are many… and not all require any type of DIY skills or instructions to follow. In fact… some may even already be in your pantry!

  1. Chickpea powder
  2. Oat Flour
  3. Corn Flour
  4. Bentonite clay
  5. Ground up flowers, like lavender buds, marigold (calendula) flowers, chamomile flower petals, or rose petals
  6. Corn starch
  7. Kaolin clay
  8. Rice starch
  9. Baking soda
  10. Tapioca starch
  11. Arrowroot powder

Yes… as long as you or your little doesn't have an allergy to any of those items, you may use them as an alternative to talc or baby powder. 

Keep in mind… using arrow root powder and corn starch may feed yeast, which is a common cause of diaper rashes. 

DIY options…

Personally, we haven't had the need to use powders with using our DIY Baby Butt Cream and our Seedlings Diaper Cream. Those have routinely been reliable on helping all our baby butt needs with two young boys. 

If you're looking for an actual powder, we love this recipe from DIY Natural, at https://www.diynatural.com/homemade-baby-powder-natural/

Every so often we will make our own mask using bentonite clay, essential oils, apple cider vinegar, and sometimes activated charcoal. It's meant for the face, but we often use it everywhere on our bodies (and our kids) that needs some detox.

Or we will add some bentonite clay, lavender essential oil, and baking soda into a warm bath. This typically works for everything we've needed.

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Nicole Graber, team leader, author, and editor to EssentialOils.Life and nikkygraber.com blog websites.


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