US FDA Says White Paper Could Inform Rulemaking For Cosmetic Talc-Asbestos Testing
Formed by the FDA in fall 2018 and convened in early 2020 for a public meeting, the Interagency Working Group on Asbestos in Consumer Products maintains that electron microscopy should be a first-line method for detecting asbestos in cosmetic talc and talc-containing products, and that labs should report elongate mineral particles beyond those classically understood as asbestos.
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No traces of asbestos were found in each of 50 talc-based cosmetic products a contract lab tested for FDA, an improvement over 17% of samples – nine of 52 products – testing positive for the carcinogen in the agency’s previous round.
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.
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.