Students at the opening “White Out” game cover themselves in baby powder to celebrate a touchdown. Baby powder has been a Blue Zoo football tradition for years, until a recent administration ban now prohibits students from bringing the powder to games. (Jen Uccelli)
Students at the opening “White Out” game cover themselves in baby powder to celebrate a touchdown. Baby powder has been a Blue Zoo football tradition for years, until a recent administration ban now prohibits students from bringing the powder to games.

Jen Uccelli

Banned: Is Baby Powder Worth the Risk?

September 21, 2021

The recent “white out” football game was the last time fans would see the infamous white cloud that filled the student section at football games, after the administration prohibited baby powder at school events. 

Baby powder was sometimes brought to the “Blue Zoo” student section of home football games to show spirit, before the COVID-19 pandemic. This occurred mostly at white out games since the powder would create a white cloud covering most of the bleachers. Students would spray the baby powder every time an exciting play or touchdown occurred, spreading the powder all over the fans. 

Although showing spirit with baby powder can seem like a fun tradition for fans, it can also be harmful to the students and fans nearby. This is due to the fact that many brands of baby powder contain talcum powder. According to Mount Sinai hospital’s website, “Breathing in talcum powder can lead to very serious lung problems” and other serious health concerns. 

“Baby powder with talcum in it has been connected with possible carcinogenic or cancer causing effects, but more directly the physical particles can get inside the lungs and cause coughing and [symptoms] like pneumonia,” Biomed teacher Yoly McCarthy said.

Those with prior health conditions may be more severely impacted.

“Any amount can be harmful, especially to somebody who’s predisposed to lung issues such as asthma and bronchitis,” added McCarthy. “It can aggravate their condition and postural issues.”

Mixed emotions from students spread throughout the halls after Principal Jonathan Schoenwald announced the ban over classroom loudspeakers. Some students feel that it is a good thing that the baby powder is banned, due to health effects or that the clouds of powder are distracting from the game. 

“I was happy to hear that there’s no more baby powder at games,” said senior Natalia Lopez. “Specifically so that no one has to experience what I experienced, by getting baby powder blown in my face and getting an infection in my eye.”

Other students believe that baby powder is simply the fans’ way of showing excitement and spirit.

“The white out game was my first football game as a high school student, and I thought it added to the excitement and overall experience,” sophomore Pilar Vargas said.

The administration is working on alternatives for fans to show spirit, promising to have a safe and fun surprise in store for fans at the next home game. Students will suffer disciplinary consequences for bringing baby powder on campus. 

“The first thing we’ll have to do is take the baby powder away and then the person won’t be allowed to stay at the game to watch,” said Principal Jonathan Schoenwald. “To me it is the worst consequence because that’s why you came to the game in the first place.”

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