Cosmetic Talc Stakeholders Should Be Watching US EPA Asbestos Developments In 2021
In December, a California federal court ordered the US Environmental Protection Agency to amend its TSCA Chemical Data Reporting rule to address asbestos information-gathering “loopholes,” including a current exemption for asbestos that occurs as an impurity in raw materials such as cosmetic talc.
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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.
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.
Product liability suits targeting personal-care companies may be “right on the cusp of hitting,” law firm Crowell & Moring predicts in its Litigation Forecast 2017 report. Companies including Johnson & Johnson and Unilever already have been swept up in what could be a growing wave of actions citing ingredient dangers.