Baby powder is an astringent powder used for preventing diaper rash and for cosmetic uses. It may be composed of talcum (in which case it is also called talcum powder) or corn starch. Baby powder can also be used as a dry shampoo, cleaning agent (to remove grease stains), and freshener.
Talcum powder, if inhaled, may cause aspiration pneumonia and granuloma. Severe cases may lead to chronic respiratory problems and death. The particles in corn starch powder are larger and less likely to be inhaled.
Some studies have found a statistical relationship between talc applied to the perineal area by women and incidence of ovarian cancer, but there is not a consensus that the two are linked. In 2016, more than 1,000 women in the United States sued Johnson & Johnson for covering up the possible cancer risk associated with its baby powder. The company stopped selling talcum powder in the United States and Canada in 2020.
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- Mills, Paul; Riordan, Deborah; Cress, Rosemary; Young, Heather (2004). "Perineal talc exposure and epithelial ovarian cancer risk in the Central Valley of California". International Journal of Cancer. 112 (3): 458–464. doi:10.1002/ijc.20434. PMID 15382072.
- "Talcum Powder Lawsuit". MesoWatch. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
- Johnson & Johnson Has a Baby Powder Problem Bloomberg, Retrieved April 20, 2017.
- Hsu, Tiffany; Rabin, Roni Caryn (May 19, 2020). "Johnson & Johnson to End Talc-Based Baby Powder Sales in North America". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 20, 2020.