So a few months ago, I was sitting in the living room listening to a court case of a woman dying from ovarian cancer. There she lay in her hospital bed and her last wish was to sue Johnson & Johnson on the grounds that Baby Powder gave her cancer. (I know pretty much everyone is rolling their eyes right now so if that’s you, stay with me). Strangely, a few weeks rolled by and I hear on the news that she actually won that case. In fact, she not only won, but the jury awarded her 417 million dollars in damages. Just the let that sink in for a moment, 417 million dollars. I later learned that this was not the first case of its kind and nor would it be the last. In fact, Johnson & Johnson has paid out over 724.6 million dollars in lawsuits on allegations that prolonged use of baby powder can cause cancer. This completely freaked me out and all of this got me thinking, no one is awarding these people this money without scientific proof that baby powder is linked to cancer. So why haven’t I heard anything else about it and what is the proof and can it affect me?
So I did some research and this is what I found and this is what I did.
Baby powder is made from Talcum Powder, which is actually a common household item that you probably use daily in many forms such as cleaner, make up, baby powder, and even prescription medications. How can Talcum powder cause cancer? Talcum powder is mined from mineral deposits that are interwoven with Asbestos fibers so there’s a pretty high chance for cross contamination for Asbestos in Talc. I’m pretty sure it goes without saying that Asbestos are terrible and I know that all of you know what Asbestos are, but just in case you forgot here’s a brief history written by an article from 100percentpure.com (click the link to read the full article):
“It’s a term for a group of silicate minerals made up of microscopic fibers and thin, fibrous crystals. The Environmental Protection Agency has identified six different types of asbestos, all with varying chemical compositions, but with the commonality of being unquestionably carcinogenic across the board.
Mining of asbestos began in the 19th century, and it was used as insulation in ships and buildings, and woven into industrial fabrics and materials. It was lauded as a miracle material and the perfect insulator because of its fire-proof properties, and was used in thousands of residential, commercial, and military buildings throughout the twentieth century. Thanks to its porous and fibrous structure, asbestos was incorporated into everything from military clothing to tiles and roofing (to date, there is no ban on asbestos in clothing). It was at the center of a booming mining industry in several American and Canadian cities, and generated significant wealth for companies involved in its production.
Asbestos usage hit a wall when mounting evidence that workers involved in its production were suffering from lung and chest cancer at astoundingly high rates. This discovery provoked further investigation, revealing that all minerals in the asbestos group are carcinogenic. They were banned in the US (and heavily restricted and phased out elsewhere) after a series of lengthy litigations, during which it was revealed that asbestos is a direct cause of cancer and chronic inflammation and scarring within lung tissue, as well as long term breathing problems and lung capacity.
Throughout the investigation, it was revealed that the work-related illnesses at asbestos plants and industrial manufacturing sites were all stemming from the toxic material. Diseases stemming from asbestos exposure can take years to appear, so the link between fatal illness and asbestos unfortunately took a while to establish. It was an industry-shattering public health moment, and one of many instances in which an industry hushed up the toxicity of their product for the sake of sales.”
And this hush hush for the sake of sales is still going on. Did you even here about these Johnson & Johnson lawsuits? I finished my research and was left feeling betrayed and enraged. Armed with my research, I went home and I threw away everything in my cabinets with Talc powder. Every single thing. Why do companies like Johnson & Johnson, Neutrogena, and Cover girl think that they don’t need to provide safe products for their customers? It should be noted here, that Johnson & Johnson has had the research for over 30 years that Talc Powder is linked to cancer and still, how many mothers do you know that put it on their babies?
The biggest place that I discovered Talc in my life was in my makeup and it scared me to pieces. I’ve been wearing makeup since I was 13. Pretty much every single day since then, I’ve woken up covered my face in whatever I had in my bag and walked out the door. It’s a habit. One that I watched my mother, my sisters, my aunts, pretty much every woman I know, do every single day. Why would Talc be in your makeup? “Talc is one of the world’s softest minerals… It’s coveted for its ability to improve textural feel of a product and to absorb moisture, so it’s a seemingly perfect mineral addition to powder formulas – everything from foundation to blush to eye shadows are often crafted with talc.” So I threw it in the trash. I tossed it all and went to look for something better.
Now before you scoff at my wastefulness and thinking, “I’ve been using Shower Powder, dry shampoo, and make up for years, and I don’t have cancer” please remember this as it was stated earlier: “Diseases stemming from asbestos exposure can take years to appear.”
In my search for a Talc free face, I found quite a few make up companies that won’t break the bank: Honest Beauty, Fenty Beauty, and even 100% Pure and I am certain there are many others. I decided to go with Honest because I found that it suited what I needed and carried everything I wanted. I received my package this weekend and I’m one week into wearing it. It works just the same as my old make up, maybe even better. I’m not even sure why we ever even needed Talc Powder since there have always been countless safer alternatives.
I know it was an aggressive choice to rid my life from something I’ve always used, but I had to. I had to for the same reason that I can’t stand on the corner smoking a cigarette. The warnings are there and I know where it leads. I won’t take the dangerous road and I hope you’ll join me on this safer adventure.
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