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SELF Asks: How Worried Do You Need to Be About Asbestos in Baby Powder and Other Talc Products?

In the wake of the recent Reuters investigative report finding Johnson & Johnson knew about asbestos in its talc products for decades, the popular women’s health, beauty and style publication, SELF, examined the health risks currently posed by talc products.

The article notes that, talc was not considered to be dangerous but that could change if it’s contaminated with asbestos. “If asbestos has remained in talcum powder in recent decades, this could provide an alternative mechanism for carcinogenesis.” The article recognizes the limited amount of studies to date addressing the link between talc and ovarian cancer or mesothelioma, and notes that FDA is now looking into the matter. “The FDA takes the possible presence of asbestos in cosmetics very seriously. The FDA will investigate reports related to the presence of asbestos in talcum powder and take appropriate actions to protect consumers,” the agency told SELF.

The article concludes by posing the question: “So, how worried should you be?” and the response: “For now, if you have concerns about talcum powder, simply don’t use it,” noting that, “the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends against the use of talcum powder in the vaginal area,” and “…the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) discourages use of baby powder, noting that ‘If inhaled, talcum-containing powders can cause severe lung damage and breathing problems in babies.’ Although the AAP doesn’t address inhalational risks of caregivers diapering babies, it seems like an unnecessary risk when diaper cream can be used instead of powder, and products containing cornstarch can be used in lieu of talcum powder.”

Read the full article here.

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