Throw out the talcum for safer, natural powders

For decades, Johnson & Johnson covered the cancer risk its talcum-based Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products posed for consumers, a Missouri state jury has determined.

That jury awarded the family of an Alabama woman $72 million dollars, blaming her death from ovarian cancer on the talcum products she used for feminine hygiene for years. Johnson & Johnson faces about 1,200 more lawsuits making similar claims in Missouri and New Jersey.

The woman, Jacqueline Fox, claimed before she died last October that she had used the company’s products for 35 years before being diagnosed with cancer three ago. The jury found Johnson & Johnson liable for fraud, negligence and conspiracy.

Interestingly, in covering this story, the local news station interviewed a doctor who said people shouldn’t worry about using talcum-based products, which he said are perfectly safe when  used in moderation.

But what does that mean? If a lot can hurt you, but a little can’t, how do you determine what is a little and what is a lot? This is typical orthodox medicine doublespeak.

In its natural form, talc may contain asbestos, a known carcinogen. But Johnson & Johnson claims its talcum products are asbestos-free, as are all talcum products used in the U.S. since the 1970s.

According to the American Cancer Society, “Studies that exposed lab animals (rats, mice, and hamsters) to asbestos-free talc in various ways have had mixed results, with some showing tumor formation and others not finding any.” So of course Johnson & Johnson and regulatory agencies like the Food and Drug Administration ignore the ones that do and cite the ones that don’t and claim talcum products are safe if used “in moderation.”

A study by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that “perineal [on the private parts] talc use may modestly increase the risk of invasive serous ovarian cancers,” though the researchers admitted “there are several important limitations to our study.”

But not to worry, our local doc assured the viewing audience, if you are concerned about talcum-based products you can choose powders made from corn starch. No mention, however, that corn starch-based products are made from genetically modified corn that has been saturated with glyphosate, which has been labeled a carcinogen by the World Health Organization.

Here are some better alternatives:

White Kaolin clay (aka white cosmetic clay) — This clay is one of the most versatile, and makes a great base for a body powder. It is naturally absorbent, and according to Mountain Rose Herbs,  profile  “…is the mildest of all clays and is suitable for people with sensitive skin.”

Arrowroot powder (aka arrowroot starch or flour) — Arrowroot is a great natural alternative to cornstarch in DIY powders. This white powder is extracted from the root of the arrowroot plant. It has a very similar texture and absorbency properties, yet is never made from GMO crops like cornstarch is.

Essential oils – Chamomile (Roman or German) and lavender essential oil are two of the only essential oils considered safe for use with babies and also have wonderful anti-inflammatory and soothing properties when used on skin. Note: Essential oil use is not recommended for babies under 3 months of age because their skin is not yet mature, therefore making it more sensitive to essential oils.

Dried herbsDried herbs are also a fabulous addition, and may be a better option for very young babies. They can be ground into a powder in a coffee/spice grinder, and can be used in lieu of, or in addition to, essential oils. Some herbs are great for deodorizing, while others are nice for their skin-soothing benefits. Note: Be sure to thoroughly sift your dried herbs after grinding to catch any pieces that were not finely ground into a powder or it could be rough and irritating to baby’s skin.

You can also use:

  • Chickpea powder.
  • Baking soda.
  • Rice flour.
  • Oat flour.
  • French green clay, finely ground.
  • Powdered calendula blossoms.
  • Powdered rose petals.
  • Powdered chamomile flowers.
  • Powdered neem herbs.

You can combine some of these powders in a small bowl and stir them so they are properly blended. Store them in a re-sealable container for use when needed. Your mixture can be used like any normal body powder or baby powder. You can also add drops of lavender or neroli essential oils if you like.

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Bob Livingston

By Bob Livingston

Bob Livingston has been writing most of his adult life on matters of health, nutritional supplements, natural alternatives and social importance.