Talcum powder is considered so safe that it’s most commonly known as baby powder. Millions of parents still shake it into their child’s diaper today, and it’s been popular for over a hundred years. It’s also marketed to women for feminine hygiene use in order to stay clean, dry, and smelling fresh all day. Yet despite its seemingly harmless nature, physicians advise against regular talc use for both children and women. Children can easily inhale talc particles, causing a variety of breathing problems and even death. Women who regularly use talc-based powder in the genital region are at increased risk for developing ovarian cancer. As a result, talc-free baby and body powders are increasingly popular.
Research Links Genital Talc Use to Increased Ovarian Cancer Risk
Researchers published the first study linking talcum powder to ovarian cancer in the early 1970s. Then, a 1982 study headed by Harvard professor Dr. Daniel Cramer examined genital talcum powder use and ovarian cancer. Dr. Cramer’s study compared 215 women with ovarian cancer against a control group of 215 healthy subjects. The study concluded that women who used talcum powder had nearly twice the risk of developing ovarian cancer compared to non-users. Worse, those who sprinkled it on their genitals and sanitary pads had more than three times the relative cancer risk.
Scientists conducted even more studies over the next two decades, trying to understand the link between ovarian cancer and talcum powder use. Ultimately, most of them echoed Dr. Cramer’s research findings. Due to the risks involved with talc use, it’s no longer safe for women or babies (especially on sensitive areas). Luckily, if you’re looking for a body or baby powder without talc, plenty of alternatives are now available. Most talc-free powder products contain cornstarch and are safe for babies as well as women, even with long-term use.
Top 10 Talc-Free Baby and Body Powders
If you love the smell of Johnson’s baby powder, Burt’s Bees Baby Bees Dusting Powder is a great option. It’s non-irritating and absorbs moisture naturally on the skin. The label describes active ingredient cornstarch as “incredibly versatile — it can act as a bulking agent or natural moisture absorber. Best of all, its botanical nature makes it safe and smooth for topical use.”
Nature’s Baby powder is unscented, but still absorbent and naturally soothing to little ones’ skin. This certified organic powder contains cornstarch, not talc. It’s also vegan as well as cruelty-free. They say of their product, “Nature’s Baby Organics… developed by a mother whose concern for her children resulted in a pure, natural line of personal care products with no compromises.”
Nutribiotic is safe for children, but more commonly used for feminine hygiene needs and to keep feet dry. It uses tea tree oil and is proudly paraben and talc-free. Its alternatives to talc include “grapefruit seed extract and tea tree oil… to prevent odor-causing bacteria and promote healthy tissue. Ideal for diaper rash, jock itch, athlete’s foot, and feminine hygiene.”
This 100% plant-based baby powder is not only talc-free, it’s specially formulated for sensitive skin. Vegan moms will love this cruelty-free formula made from organic tapioca starch, chamomile, calendula and lavender flowers. If you’re looking for an alternative option that’s not made with cornstarch, this light-scented baby and body powder is perfect for you.
This highly rated feminine dusting powder is made from cornstarch and completely talc-free. Lush uses grated cocoa butter as well as jasmine and vetiver scents for the best-smelling talc-free body powder of the bunch.
Plant-based and completely natural, this baby powder without talc keeps skin dry. Anti-inflammatory ingredients such as kaolin clay, arrowroot and plaintain leaf help soothe irritation and calms itchy skin. It is 100% free of talc, gluten, fragrances, dyes, as well as other common allergens. It keeps your baby dry and smelling fresh — without using dangerous talc.
This nutrient-rich organic powder smells delicious and is perfect for mom and baby alike. Every ingredient in this powder has a purpose: kaolin clay draws out toxins, cornstarch keeps skin dry, and arrowroot powder kills off microbes and stifles bacterial growth. Calendula oil helps soothe rashes and speed healing, while rosemary extract ensures the powder works equally well on both oily and sensitive skin.
This versatile, 100% talc-free body powder provides long-lasting odor protection and helps control moisture. Gold Bond contains aloe and other skin-nurturing vitamins, which means it’s safe for your whole family to use.
This talc-free powder is perfectly scented for feminine hygiene use. Ora’s Amazing Herbal contains natural odor-suppressing as well as antibacterial ingredients.
After studies emphasized talc’s associated dangers, Johnson & Johnson finally produced its own baby powder without talc. Of course, the company’s cornstarch-based products could be tainted with talc at the factory level. For this reason, use any J&J’s baby and body powder products with caution.
What You Can Do
Because Johnson & Johnson failed to warn consumers about potential talc dangers, thousands of women developed ovarian cancer. As a result, women are filing talcum powder lawsuits against the pharmaceutical giant. For the safest option, choose powders made with a talc-free formula for both you and your baby’s safety. The items on our list can provide all the benefits of traditional talcum powder products, but without the same risks.
If you developed ovarian cancer after long-term regular talc use, you may now qualify for compensation. Fill out your free talcum powder claim review form to check your eligibility for a cash settlement from the manufacturer. Once you’ve submitted your information, an experienced lawyer in your area will contact you to discuss your case.
Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.