I’ve heard that baby powders are dangerous to use on infants (or adults for that matter) because the talc has been linked to development of ovarian cancer. Is this true, and does that make pure corn starch powders okay? (I’ve also heard that use of powder contributes to respiratory problems.)
Pediatricians have recommended against the use of talcum powder because of the risk of aspirating (breathing) talc particles into the lungs.
The talc causes an inflammatory reaction in the lungs; severe pneumonia is well-documented in the medical literature. Corn-starch-based talc-free powders are available, but they also pose a risk of aspiration into the lungs.
The reason to apply something to baby’s bottom at the time of diapering is to reduce friction between baby’s sensitive skin and a potentially wet or soiled diaper. A thick layer of diaper cream or petroleum jelly works fine for that purpose, so you can avoid using any powder at all.