Can baby powder really be dangerous? Talc is used for hundreds of powders and makeup products. Recent news warned of potentially dangerous contaminants such as asbestos. In 1982, an obstetrician published a study asking patients if they ever used talc. Patients that had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer were more likely to say yes. He concluded that talc was a risk factor for cancer. Since that study, others have been conducted and found no connection. Still, the debate rages on, and Johnson & Johnson has spent millions settling cases while insisting its products are safe.
What to do: Hard to say how urgent this is. Pediatricians recommend avoiding powder on infants, but that’s due to risk of inhaled particles. Women who have a family history of cancer or are otherwise concerned can look for talc free products in health food stores, use corn starch products, or simply avoid powder products for personal dryness and hygiene.
Thought for the day: The concerns, though rare, are getting louder. If it makes you anxious, stop using the powder.
What’s Going Around is contributed by family practice doctor Kyle Scarborough, M.D. You can reach him at www.familylifemedical.com