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FDA Examines Asbestos Testing for Talc Powders and Cosmetics

FDA Examines Asbestos Testing for Talc Powders and Cosmetics

For the first time in nearly five decades, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) examined asbestos testing for talc powders and cosmetics after traces of the known carcinogen were found in several popular products, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder. According to a Reuters news report, U.S. lawmakers and consumer advocates have pointed to the FDA findings, calling for more stringent safety regulations to safeguard public health.

J&J, a leading producer of talc powders, has consistently maintained the safety of its products. The company said tests conducted by its labs found no asbestos in samples from the same bottle that the FDA examined. J&J has said it looks forward to the FDA’s thorough review in this regard.

Talc and Asbestos

The hearing on asbestos testing in talc, the first the FDA has held since 1971, zeroed in on testing standards recommended by a panel of government experts. The recommendations, which were published last month, embrace positions held by public health officials and experts for plaintiffs who allege that the use of contaminated talc products caused their cancers.

For a long time now, the cosmetic talc industry has been allowed to police itself, and the FDA has little to no oversight, the Reuters report points out. Talc and asbestos are similar minerals usually found together on the ground. However, the FDA has never mandated manufacturers to test for carcinogens.

One of the most important recommendations the expert panel has made is that mineral particles found in talc products small enough to get to a person’s lungs, even if they are not categorized as asbestos, should be considered potentially harmful. The panel said both asbestos and look-alike minerals could cause similar pathological outcomes, and therefore, the distinction is not relevant. Reuters has previously reported that J&J knew for decades that its raw talc and powders sometimes tested positive for asbestos but that the company did not disclose those findings to the FDA.

If You Have Been Affected

If you or someone you love has developed cancer as a result of using talcum powder, you may be able to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer and other potential parties. If you have lost someone to cancer as a result of using talcum powder, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation as well. An experienced product defect attorney can help you better understand your legal rights and options.


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California Personal Injury Blog