When most people think of talcum powder, chances are they think of babies and personal hygiene. Lately, studies and lawsuits have connected it to something more threatening: cancer.
Thousands of lawsuits say Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder and Shower to Shower led to ovarian cancer and mesothelioma.
A handful of studies also found a cancer link. For example, one study found women who used talcum powder for personal hygiene had a 20 percent to 30 percent increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.
In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cannot guarantee that talc products in the U.S. are asbestos-free. Inhaling asbestos can cause mesothelioma.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has also warned that talcum powder can cause respiratory issues in babies.
People who are concerned about talcum powder’s safety can use talc-free substitutes.
Some options are readily available on the shelves of local grocery stores and drugstores, or online. Others such as silk powder, boron nitride or zinc oxide may be more difficult to find.
You can also make homemade baby powders with a combination of the following ingredients.
Cornstarch is the most widely used alternative to talcum powder. You can find this in the bakery isle of grocery stores, in drugstores, online and at other general merchandise stores like Target or Walmart. Commercial cornstarch blends are also available. Prices range from $1.50 for pure cornstarch to $9.00 for some commercial powder blends.
Commercial brands that use cornstarch blends include:
Baking soda isn’t just for baking or deodorizing your fridge. It is safe to use as an alternative to baby powder. But, using pure baking soda can be abrasive for sensitive skin. Opt for a blend of baking soda and cornstarch or kaolin clay. Most stores carry baking soda. Prices range from $0.79 for pure baking soda to $9.00 for some commercial blends.
Commercial brands that use baking soda blends include:
Most people know tapioca as a pudding-like treat. It comes from the cassava plant. Tapioca starch absorbs moisture and oil. You can find tapioca starch in some grocery stores, on Amazon and in specialty groceries such as Whole Foods. Prices range from $1.96 for pure cornstarch to $17.00 for some commercial powder blends.
Commercial brands that use tapioca starch blends include:
Similar to tapioca, arrowroot powder comes from South American plants. It is a great alternative for people who are allergic to corn. You will find it in some grocery stores. The best place to find it is at a natural or health food store. You can also order it online. Prices range from $2.50 for pure arrowroot to $14.00 for commercial powder blends.
Commercial brands that use arrowroot starch blends include:
Kaolin clay, also known as cosmetic clay, is in many cosmetics, soaps, scrubs and deodorants. It is naturally absorbent and gentle on sensitive skin. People usually buy it online, but some health stores and general merchandise stores sell it. You can buy pure clay from $0.89 a pound in bulk. Some commercial powder blends start at $9.00.
Commercial brands that use kaolin clay blends include:
Rice starch is ground up rice. People used it in face powders before talc. One of the downsides to rice starch is its tendency to cake. It is also not easy to find unless you order it online. Prices range from $4.50 for pure rice starch to $11.00 for some commercial powder blends.
Commercial brands that use rice starch blends include:
Like rice starch, out flour is made of ground up oats. It is coarser than many of the other flours mentioned above. Oats are available in most stores. Oat flour is available already in flour form or you can grind it yourself. Prices range from $2.50 for pure oats to $16.00 for commercial powder blends.
Commercial brands that use oat flour blends include:
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