Meeting Underway To Determine The Best Talc AsbetosTesting Method
Is the FDA finally stepping up to the plate or will it continue to ignore the cancer risks presented by talc
Thursday, February 6, 2020 - In one of the more revealing headlines I have read recently, Jurist.org titled a piece "FDA holds first hearing on asbestos in talc in 50 years," begging the question what has the government watchdog agency been doing for the last five decades since asbestos became known to be carcinogenic and also linked to talc. Over 17,000 lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson alone allege that talc used in baby powder contributed to their developing ovarian cancer or talc contains asbestos that caused the plaintiffs' mesothelioma, a rare cancer of the lining of the lungs. Not since 1971 has the FDA bothered to concern themselves with cancer that was being caused by asbestos in talc. As outrageous as the conduct of Johnson & Johnson's executives has been in covering up what they knew about talc being contaminated at the source with asbestos, consumers should be doubly outraged as the FDA was responsible for failing to warn consumers about the dangers of adults using Johnson's Baby Powder let alone the millions of infant children that have been dusted with the cancer-causing powder daily. Talcum powder cancer lawyers representing people harmed from talcum powder use and offer a free consultation.
The hearing that was held pertained to the testing method used for decades by Johnson & Johnson and subsequently adopted by the cosmetics industry as a whole to test talc for the presence of asbestos. Since 1971, the FDA has kept its head in the sand while the cosmetics industry was self-regulated. For much of the time, the FDA's cosmetics division was run by ex-Johnson & Johnson executives that insured that the billion-dollar multinational conglomerate got their way. All the while both the FDA and Johnson & Johnson knew that it was impossible to separate asbestos from talc and that "in the milling process, other contaminants in the talc are ground down into what are known as elongated mineral particles (EMPs) that are functionally identical to asbestos. These EMPs have "similar pathological outcomes" to asbestos, as they are equally susceptible to inhalation in the same way that asbestos is."
Johnson & Johnson is being accused of using a particular method of testing for asbestos that is so insensitive that is could never identify any of the microscopic, knife-like fibers that have been identified collectively as asbestos. The fibers that comprise asbestos are chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, actinolite, and actinolite, and anthophyllite. Scientific witnesses for plaintiffs suing Johnson & Johnson such as Georgia-based microscope researcher Dr. William Luongo have gone on record as finding asbestos fibers in talc when using the liquid-separation method of testing. Also, scientists argue that other asbestos-like material found in talc should be tested and included as they are carcinogens as well. Cosmetic industry spokesperson Mark Pollard from the Personal Care products council rejects the inclusion of the additional materials and told Jurist.org, "The key to effective testing is the identification of asbestos, not harmless minerals." We should know in a day or two if the FDA will step up this time and tighten asbestos testing standards for the cosmetics industry, or will it continue to take the easy way out and look the other way.