Is it Safe to Use Baby Powder?

Is it Safe to Use Baby Powder?

It may seem harmless, but the use of baby powder has been a topic of discussion among safety experts for quite some time. Now this concern is growing louder with the recent recall of Johnson’s Baby Powder. We’ve discussed the best baby grooming essentials and how to keep your baby’s nursery safe, but is it safe to use baby powder?

Join us for a look at the recall information for this product, as well as some of the safety concerns that come with keeping baby powder in your child’s nursery.

About the Recent Recall

Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. (JJCI) is voluntarily recalling a single lot of its Johnson’s Baby Powder in the United States. This decision comes in reaction to tests administered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Samples were taken and tested by the FDA using a bottle of powder purchased at a retailer. Unfortunately, the results showed the presence of sub-trace levels of chrysotile asbestos contamination. As asbestos is a known carcinogen, JJCI is cooperating with the FDA to issue a recall. Both the FDA and JJCI are urging consumers not to use this product.

You may recall that JJCI has had lawsuits filed against them in the past regarding its talcum powder. These allegations claimed that the powder contained asbestos, which resulted in the consumers’ diagnoses of ovarian cancer. Some of these verdicts ruled against the company.

Johnson’s Baby Powder was tested as part of ongoing research by the FDA, which has been testing for potential contamination of talc with asbestos in various cosmetics and baby powders. In this case, the FDA tested two samples of Johnson’s Baby Powder: one of which tested positive for asbestos. Only the lot from which this sample was taken, #22318RB, is being recalled. Luckily, according to the company, the asbestos levels found were no greater than 0.00002%. 

Is Talc-Based Baby Powder Actually Safe to Use?

Baby powder is traditionally used on babies to prevent diaper rash, but this recall may leave you wondering: is talc-based baby powder actually safe to use?  Recommendations and safety protocols change regularly, so it is a good idea to keep up-to-date. After all, we want to protect our babies. 

Seeing diaper rash on your little one’s sensitive bottom can be upsetting, but baby powder may not be the ideal solution. While the use of baby powder is not in itself harmful, it is recommended that parents remain cautious about how they use it.

Here’s the potential health concern: 

When you use powder around your baby, they can inhale the tiny particles into their lungs. For as far back as 1981, the American Academy of Pediatrics warned about the potential hazards of inhaling baby powder, at the time pointing to a 20 percent mortality rate.

Alternatives to Talc-Based Powder for Diaper Rash

While careful use of talc-based baby powder is generally safe, there are alternatives that pose less of a risk of aspiration. Some pediatricians consider cornstarch to be a safer powder option since the particles are larger than those of baby powder. Even better are zinc oxide-based ointments, such as Balmex, Desitin or A+D, which eliminate the danger of particles in the air and help to cut down on irritation. To avoid diaper rash in the first place, be sure to change your baby’s diaper frequently so that the wet surface area doesn’t sit against their skin for too long.

What to Do If You Own a Recalled Bottle of Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder

Anyone who has purchased a bottle of Johnson's Baby Powder from Lot #22318RB is advised to stop using the product. This includes 33,000 bottles. For refund information, contact the Johnson & Johnson Consumer Care Center at or by calling 866-565-2229.

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