Health & Wellness

Talcum powder causes cancer?

  • Last Updated:
  • Oct 23rd, 2017 1:15 pm
5 replies
Deal Addict
Sep 2, 2010
1590 posts
Isn't it awful that such a seemingly trustworthy brand/product (baby powder) would have this effect. I didn't know it wasn't talc based, but fortunately for my peace of mind I use a cornstarch based product available from Wal-Mart. It sounds like some quite expensive alternatives are trying to take advantage of the situation, but the cornstarch stuff is cheap and works well....until the next study on how toxic cornstarch is comes out.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Oct 1, 2011
6188 posts
Um, scientifically, the evidence isn't there (yet.) There isn't even a known mechanism, only guesses at this time--which may include cornstarch-based powders as well.

It could also be associative, but not causal. Seriously, how many women do you know who powder their genital region? I'm guessing the ones that do, tend to be sweatier, and/or larger, and want to manage the moisture and heat or chafing? They may not be paragons of good health to begin with. Or maybe it's their routine choice of clothes and fabrics that's causing all that discomfort they are trying to mitigate, and has health repercussions. Maybe the women who sprinkle their sanitary pads or briefs with the powder ought to be changing them more frequently, but aren't doing so when using a powder, and therefore causing themselves health problems that would happen even if it weren't talc they were choosing?

This was a jury decision and I think from a scientific point of view, J&J didn't deserve it.
Penalty Box
Jan 17, 2012
4019 posts
So basically in this case correlation did prove least to the jurors?
Deal Fanatic
Nov 1, 2006
6764 posts
My understanding is (was?) that talc or talcum powder was made from a rock that was often mined in asbestos mines. It was the asbestos or trace amounts of it that were dangerous rather that the talcum powder itself.

Added: just looked this up and found this article: Talcum Powder and Cancer
"When talking about whether or not talcum powder is linked to cancer, it is important to distinguish between talc that contains asbestos and talc that is asbestos-free. Talc that has asbestos is generally accepted as being able to cause cancer if it is inhaled. This type of talc is not used in modern consumer products. The evidence about asbestos-free talc, which is still widely used, is less clear."