Talcum powder comes from the crushing, drying and milling of mined talc rocks. The substance is mainly comprised of magnesium, silicon and oxygen, and the particles are extremely small so therefore they can easily be inhaled. For any lungs this is a problem, but for the tiny lungs of a baby, it can be particularly irritating and can cause inflammation. As a result, the American Association of Paediatrics recommends that parents do not use talcum powder on their babies.
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Talc is a naturally occurring mineral found in baby powders as well as other cosmetic and personal care products, and it's good at absorbing moisture, cutting down on friction, and preventing rashes. For many years, parents used it to diaper babies, until doctors began discouraging it for health reasons. As for adults, many still use it around their genitals or rectum to prevent chafing or sweating, says Mary Jane Minkin, MD, clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive services at Yale School of Medicine.
I once calculated how much I'd spent in diapers between my children. The price was staggering. In the beginning, I bought the crunchiest disposable diapers available. After that messy lesson, I switched to a popular brand that cost nearly as much. I never really thought about what I would do if I couldn't pay for them, but where can you get free diapers for your baby? It makes sense to wonder — it cost me thousands of dollars to hold my baby's crap.
So! Awareness is key (no thanks to Johnson & Johnson, which according to prosecutors, has known of the potential risks of talc since the ’80s yet failed to share the facts with consumers), and the moral of the story is that you should probably ditch any and all talc-based beauty products posthaste, especially if you’re putting them close to your vagina. Opt for one of these eight talc-free body powders instead—with prices ranging from less than $5 to $27, there’s something for everyone. Some of them were probably actually made for balls, but hey, it’s all the same.