Recent news about the talc included in Johnson & Johnson's Baby Powder and its links to ovarian cancer has many women greatly concerned – and rightfully so. Although juries have been finding for the plaintiffs in a number of cases, awarding judgments in the tens of millions of dollars, the New Jersey-based pharmaceutical giant continues to assert that its product is “safe” and there is no proof that talcum powder causes ovarian cancer.
However, as the behavior of the pharmaceutical and health care industries in recent decades has clearly demonstrated, there is no reason for the public to trust or believe anything these companies have to say – and that includes what was once “America's Most Trusted Brand,” which has been targeted by numerous lawsuits over different products. Small wonder: the first study on the link between the genital use of talcum powder and ovarian cancer was first conducted thirty years ago. That study showed that women using talcum powder in this manner had a 92% greater risk of developing ovarian cancer than those who did not. This strongly supports plaintiff attorneys' assertions that J&J was fully aware of these risks long ago.
Not only is there a link between talc and ovarian cancer, it can also cause respiratory problems if accidentally breathed in, and is toxic when swallowed.
Given this information, women who have been using talcum powder may wish to consider safer alternatives. One of these is cornstarch, a common product found in most kitchens, used to thicken sauces and gravies. Made from the endosperm from the kernels, cornstarch has a consistency similar to that of talcum powder, and can do the job of absorbing wetness just as well. In fact, Johnson & Johnson now produces a baby powder made from cornstarch.
Another baking product worth considering is common sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda. If you don't mind something a bit coarser, oat flour is yet another kitchen ingredient that can be substituted for talcum powder.
Another alternative is tapioca starch. This product comes from the pulp of the cassava plant, a shrub found in the Amazonian rainforest. Arrowroot, another rainforest product, is similar. You can find these in natural food stores, as they are part of the low-carb “paleo” diet.
Any of these substances can be combined with essential oils of your choice if a pleasant scent is desired. Other than that, a number of companies manufacturing organic health and nutrition products offer healthier commercial alternatives made from safe, wholesome ingredients. These cost a bit more, but are cheaper than cancer treatments.