50 Years Later, FDA And Cosmetics Industry At Odds Again Over Asbestos
The Personal Care Products Council says talc-testing methods in the cosmetics industry must distinguish between carcinogenic asbestos and harmless non-asbestiform minerals, recalling its position against the FDA’s stab at rulemaking in 1973. However, the FDA is now arguing that elongate mineral particles of respirable dimensions are inherently dangerous, regardless of other considerations.
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Office of Cosmetics and Colors Linda Katz emphasizes FDA sees allergen labeling as a public health issue. While many allergic reactions are minor, “consumers who are extremely or exclusively sensitive to a particular ingredient should have a right to know.”
Lab testing expert Sean Fitzgerald says levels of asbestos he has detected in talc-containing cosmetics likely would expose consumers to the well-known carcinogen at levels above California’s Prop 65 safe harbor. There are questions as to Prop 65’s applicability as currently written, but there is definite interest among California attorneys and trial lawyers, he says.
The Environmental Working Group and Scientific Analytical Institute say inadequate testing of talc-containing personal-care products is to blame for findings of asbestos in cosmetics, including three of 21 powder-based cosmetics SAI analyzed at EWG’s request. They continue to push for updated testing standards that include electron microscopy as a core component.