An Overview of Baby Powder

Why Conventional Baby Powders are Toxic and How to Choose Natural Alternatives

If you use baby powder regularly we’d like to draw your attention to some possible issues you should be aware of when it comes to the conventional baby powder. We will highlight a few key chemicals that you should be avoiding and how you can go about buying and making natural baby powder today!


Common chemicals in baby powder

Perhaps one of the biggest concerns about the use of these products is the inevitable inhalation of baby powder by you and your little one. Baby powder consists of fine particulate matter—tiny airborne particles that, when inhaled, can lead to things like bronchitis and acute respiratory infections, especially in young children.[1] Talcum powders can fall into this category (they often come with “do not inhale” warnings) and can cause adverse reactions.[2] But there’s more to worry about than the simple presence of lung-clogging particles in your baby powder. Here are some additional ingredients of concern:

  • DMDM Hydantoin: This is a preservative used in many personal care products, yet it is a known human immune system toxicant and a suspected skin irritant.[3]
  • Sodium borate: This inorganic salt is the main ingredient used to make cockroach poison. It is used in personal care products as a pH adjuster and has been linked to developmental and reproductive problems as well as cancer.[4]
  • Synthetic fragrances: As with any personal care product for you and baby, it’s best to avoid synthetic fragrances. Many of these man-made fragrances are considered persistent organic pollutants (POPs) because they stay in the environment a long time, causing air and water pollution and harming wildlife.[5] And when used indoors, they pollute your indoor air (because most are considered volatile organic compounds (VOCs)), contributing to common respiratory problems like asthma. Additionally, most chemical scents are accompanied by phthalates which have been linked to additional serious human health problems, especially in children.[6]
  • Talc: Talc is a natural mined mineral (mining is not an eco-friendly industry) that can come out of the ground naturally-infused with asbestos, a known carcinogen, and there’s no testing of talc to ensure its asbestos-free. Though talc baby powder has been used for decades by parents trying to control moisture and odor, it’s not recommended for your baby. Choose ingredients like baking soda and cornstarch instead.


Natural baby powder

So if you’re looking for more natural baby powder alternatives, try out some of these safer brands:

As with all of Ecolife’s recommendations, remember that we don’t want to harm the animals of the planet with our product choices. So look for the Certified Vegan or Leaping Bunny logos to assure that your chosen products don’t come at the pain of other creatures.


Make your own homemade baby powder

If you’re looking for a way to make your own baby powder, there certainly are many methods and ingredients you can try. Here are a few that we recommend:



1 Respiratory disease kills 1 in every 2000 babies in Europe. (n.d.). Retrieved April 12, 2010, from World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe:

2 Medical Glove Powder Report. (n.d.). Retrieved April 12, 2010, from US Food and Drug Administration:

3 DMDM Hydantoin. (n.d.). Retrieved April 13, 2010, from Environmental Working Group Skin Deep Cosmetic Database:

4 Sodium Borate. (n.d.). Retrieved April 13, 2010, from Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetic Saftey Database:

5 Environment - Air, Water, Wilfelife, and Other. (n.d.). Retrieved April 12, 2010, from The Fragranced Products Information Network:

6 What the nose knows: Think twice before buying a loved one perfume, cologne. (2003, February 12). Retrieved April 12, 2010, from MSNBC:

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