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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Recommendations from an FDA-led interagency work group regarding methods for detecting and measuring asbestos in talc and talc-containing cosmetics will be presented at the agency’s planned public meeting in Silver Spring, MD, on 4 February. The recommendations are summarized in the FDA's meeting notice, which follows contentious cosmetic product recalls based on asbestos findings.
Counsel for 22 women who blame J&J talcum powders for their ovarian cancer took a new approach in this latest case in St. Louis Circuit Court, arguing that asbestos in the firm’s talc is the culprit, rather than talc itself. J&J is confident in its ability to overturn the verdict, which it characterized as biased and unfounded.
Transmission electron microscopy is likely the safest bet, among other imaging technologies, for companies looking to verify their cosmetic talc as asbestos-free. However, there’s no regulatory-mandated method for cosmetics purposes, which may explain conflicting results being reported by different labs.