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Can baby powder give you cancer?


While some products are known to be vices or guilty pleasures, few customers could have imagined that the baby powder they were using on their own or their child’s skin could be a cause of cancer. Yet that’s just what happened to thousands of users of baby powder from companies such as Johnson & Johnson.


Documents that have come to light in legal proceedings have revealed that from the 1970s, through the 2000s, J&J knew their product was tainted with the carcinogenic substance, and failed to disclose it. Talc is a mineral that absorbs moisture and prevents friction, and by itself it is harmless, but can be naturally contaminated with asbestos. In theory, since the 70s talc has been tested to ensure it’s asbestos-free, but the J&J lawsuits show that may not always be the case.


Can baby powder give you cancer?


Could the talc currently on the market be contaminated? Studies have sought to examine this. Many, such as the Women’s Health Study, which followed 61,000 women, found no increased risk. And a study on talc miners found no increased risk, suggesting safety for consumers who are exposed in much lower doses than a miner would be. Still, the fact that customers in recent memory have been exposed suggests that customers can’t be 100% confident in ruling baby powder safe. And the memory of past cancer victims who were harmed by baby powder is a reminder of the need for strong consumer protection.


Can baby powder give you cancer?
 

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