FDA Public Hearings Held on Asbestos Testing for Talc Products and Cosmetics

FDA Public Hearings Held on Asbestos Testing for Talc Products and Cosmetics

On February 4, for the first time in almost fifty years, the FDA held a hearing examining the standards used for testing talc-containing products for asbestos and other potentially harmful contaminants. In response to recent reports that asbestos had been found in several talc-containing products, including a bottle of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, the FDA reviewed standards that had been recently propounded by a panel of government experts. This panel reviewed positions taken by public health authorities in the past as well as arguments put forth by plaintiffs in lawsuits alleging they developed cancer as a result of exposure to asbestos-contaminated talc products. The agency heard from consumer advocates, industry representatives and testing experts.

In a written report, the panel observed that the testing methods used by the talc industry had “long-observed shortcomings in specificity and sensitivity” and made a number of recommendations, including one that minerals other than asbestos that were small enough to be breathed into the lungs should also be considered potentially harmful since they could result in “similar pathological outcomes”.  The Personal Care Products Council, an industry trade group of about 600 companies, has voiced opposition to this interpretation, arguing that including other mineral particles as possible carcinogens is not supported by science.

The cosmetic talc industry has been permitted to police itself for decades with almost no oversight from the FDA; as a result, manufacturers had never been required to test their talc products for asbestos.  A report published in December by Reuters showed that since the 1970s the FDA had minimized any potential health concerns that may have been caused by the presence of asbestos in talc powder products, including cosmetics, and deferred repeatedly to manufacturers.  At the recent public hearing, consumer advocates and government experts argued that this era of self-regulation needed to end, that warning labels should be added to talc products, and that more stringent testing methodologies must be adopted.

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Manager of Research Services


As the Manager of Research Services at Verus, Kim uses both historical documents and current analysis to conduct ongoing research into the products and exposure sites for each of the Trusts administered by Verus. MORE

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Author: Edward Lott

Edward Lott, Ph.D., M.B.A. is President and Managing Partner of Allentown-based ForLawFirmsOnly Marketing, Inc., an agency specializing in client acquisition for law firms nationwide. ForLawFirmsOnly specializes in generating Zero Risk Mass Tort Cases™, Zero Risk MVA Cases™ and Zero Risk Legal Leads™. Ed has been a digital entrepreneur since 1994, having discovered very early the opportunities the Internet offered. After having spent over two decades helping attorneys grow their practice, Ed joined the staff of ForLawFirmsOnly Marketing as President and Managing Partner, where he is expanding the agency’s cutting-edge services to the legal market. A true marketing futurist, Ed's vast experience working directly with attorneys has given him a unique perspective on law firm marketing not found in many other digital marketing agencies. Ed has reshaped the offerings of ForLawFirmsOnly to focus on growing law firms through a holistic approach to digital marketing evident in the reformulated lead generation processes now in place that focus on client acquisition. Want to learn more about ForLawFirmsOnly Marketing, their client acquisition programs, or just talk to Ed about his visions for helping law firms grow? Call him at 855-943-8736.

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