Many new parents have declined to use an old standby from their own babyhoods: baby powder. Use of talcum powder on babies has been discouraged by the American Academy of Pediatrics already:

“The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against using baby powder because of the risk of respiratory problems. Baby powder can cause breathing trouble and serious lung damage if a baby inhales the particles. And the particles are small enough that it’s hard to keep them out of the air during use.” Jennifer Lowry,

But the dangers of baby powder don’t stop there. A recent peer-reviewed study published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health found that at least one brand of talcum powder contains traces of asbestos that a consumer would be exposed to if used as directed.

“They had a test subject wearing protective gear apply talcum powder to his upper body in a sealed room about the size of a bathroom. Air filters used in the test chambers consistently collected high levels of inhalable asbestos, and the researchers found that the risk of exposure increases when talcum powder is applied in small, closed spaces (like bathrooms).” Center for Effective Government

The researchers believe that the asbestos was naturally occurring where the talc was mined. They tracked the talc from mine to powder to mesothelioma victim and determined that the asbestos in the talcum powder she used was the most likely culprit in the woman’s death.

If you are still using talcum powder, you might want to consider switching to a cornstarch-based product. But do keep in mind that both kinds of powder are adding particulates to the air, probably in the most confined space in your home–the bathroom.

Baby powder smells great, but it might be time to leave it out of your diaper bag.

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