by Ms. S on February 15, 2009

Please note that this section contains my personal notes from my readings on this topic.


  • Talcum powder (talc) should not be used on babies at all, as its inhalation can harm their lungs, causing cough, vomiting, pneumonia, and potentially even cancer.  Talc can also contain traces of toxins like arsenic or asbestos.  I am amazed that Johnson’s Baby Powder still contains talc and fragrance even as the label carries the warning, “Keep powder away from child’s face to avoid inhalation, which can cause breathing problems.”  This is sometimes easier said than done.  Bottom line: avoid altogether any product with talc.  Instead, use cornstarch on a baby’s bottom or purchase herbal non-talc powders made with cornstarch, herbs, and essential oils.  (Natural Baby and Childcare, p55)
    From The Environmental Working Group:

    • Just like auto exhaust or secondhand smoke, tiny airborne particles from baby powder can damage a baby’s delicate, developing lungs. Parents who use baby powder on their children typically apply it daily. It’s best to avoid using baby powder altogether. If you must use it, choose powders without suspect preservatives, “fragrance,” or sodium borate, an ingredient that the cosmetic industry’s own safety advisory panel says is unsafe for infants.
      • Avoid these ingredients:
        DMDM Hydantoin – Allergen and irritant that can form cancer-causing contaminants
        Boric Acid & Sodium Borate – Industry authorities caution against use on infant or damaged skin
        Fragrance – Allergens that may contain neurotoxic or hormone-disrupting chemicals
      • Avoid FRAGRANCE when possible


  • Skip anti-bacterial soaps, since they can be bad for the environment, aren’t any better than soap and water, and can contain pesticides that are absorbed through the skin.  (
  • AVOID TRICLOSAN. Triclosan reacts with chlorine, the most common disinfectant in municipal water systems, to form chloroform, a potential carcinogen. Scientists at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University tested products with and without the chemical and found that antibacterial soaps could boost a person’s exposure to chloroform 15 to 40 percent above the EPA’s safe limit for tap water (80 micrograms per liter).  Chloroform isn’t the only possible risk. Triclosan has been linked to allergies and antibiotic resistance, and it’s a major contaminant in U.S. waterways.  Plus the soaps seem to be a futile investment. In hospitals, the bacteria-killing properties of triclosan can prevent the spread of serious infections. But at home you don’t need to kill the bugs; all you need to do is wash them down the drain. Ordinary soap and water does that every bit as well as antibacterial scrubs, according to a 2005 FDA advisory panel.  (



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