Fibers May Be Present in Most Talc-Based Cosmetics Including Johnson's Baby Powder
Expert witness Dr. William Longo uses a method of testing for talc that is finding asbestos in over half of the samples it has taken
Friday, December 20, 2019 - The fate of thousands of lawsuits may hinge upon the testimony of Dr. William Longo, PHd., Georgia-based microscope researcher and plaintiff expert witness. Dr. Longo has testified before the US Congress that the testing methods that the cosmetics industry and Johnson & Johnson, in particular, used to test talc, the main ingredient in Johnson's Baby Powder, for the presence of cancer-causing asbestos is inadequate to detect microscopic but deadly asbestos fibers. Dr. Longo's testimony included saying: " the methods used in the past and today by the industry are not sensitive enough to detect trace levels of asbestos. We should have analytical methods that achieve the highest degree of sensitivity and the lowest detection limits plausible." Johnson & Jonsonson spokespersons continue to drive the narrative in the media that Johnson's Baby Powder is pure and safe enough to use to diaper a baby and cite thousands of tests that have not found asbestos. Longo and other scientists, however, maintain that the only reason that the industry never finds asbestos is that the testing methods they use are conveniently inadequate. Talcum powder cancer lawsuits represented by top national attorneys offer a free no obligation consultation before filing a lawsuit claim.
Longo explained the nuances of his testing methods to members of Congress by first explaining that asbestos by nature is very, very small and weightless. A particle of asbestos can weigh less than one trillionth of a gram and hundreds of millions of particles of asbestos can be present in one gram, therefore, " analytical sensitivity is extremely important when looking at very small samples at very low weight percentages." Longo criticized the Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) method used by the industry because it requires at least 10,000,000 particles of asbestos in any particular gram of talc it analyzes to register positive for the substance. Longo instead uses the Liquid Separation Method that removes particles of talc to prepare a sample of talc for testing "leaving behind any amphibole asbestos that may be present, making for easier and quicker analysis, along with substantially better sensitivity. Longo testified that the Liquid Separation Method is "2100 to 3100 times more sensitive than those used by industry and the FDA contract laboratory. Using HLS approximately 65% of the cosmetic talc samples we have analyzed, have been positive for amphibole asbestos."
Dr. Longo concluded his testimony by further claiming that other scientists had compared the Liquid Separation Method of talc/asbestos testing with the testing methods in use by the cosmetics industry and found magnitudes of asbestos in samples that the industry claimed was pure and asbestos-free. "In 1991, a Johnson and Johnson's consultant named Dr. Alice Blount published a peer-reviewed paper, wherein she used heavy liquid separation and optical microscopy on talc samples. In an off-the-shelf sample of Johnson’s Baby Powder, she found approximately 102,000 to 341,000 tremolite asbestos fibers per gram of talc. Without HLS sample preparation, that same Johnson’s Baby Powder sample was found to be negative."
You can read Dr. Longo's letter to Congress by visiting https://oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/documents/Longo%20Testimony.pdf