FDA Final Report: Asbestos Detected In 17% Of Talc-Containing Cosmetics, Including Products Previously Under Suspicion
NGOs including the Environmental Working Group maintain that the FDA’s testing results released on 9 March, showing traces of asbestos in nine out of 52 talc-containing cosmetics, signal a need for congressional action to tighten industry oversight. The FDA says the findings are not necessarily representative of the overall marketplace, with further talc testing planned for 2020.
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The FDA must report to the House Appropriations Committee on any work toward defining “natural” cosmetics and on the health effects of talc, asbestos and lead in cosmetic products. The committee’s 2021 FDA spending bill report also cites concerns about skin-lightening products containing “dangerous levels of mercury and hydroquinone.”
The Environmental Working Group and US PIRG suggest that beauty and personal-care firms should avoid using talc in loose powders, if not all cosmetic products, and that the US FDA should consider banning the ingredient due to the potential for asbestos contamination, among other concerns.
The FDA is focused on driving adoption of more sensitive, standardized testing methods for assessing cosmetic talc purity, which it believes would yield more consistent results across labs. This would help to inform research into the health implications of trace levels of asbestos and other elongate mineral particles in talc; in the interim it could to be damaging to companies that supply or use that talc.