Talc Testing Standards Will Show More Cosmetic Products are Carcinogenic
The FDA's White Paper on talc asbestos testing sets the bar higher for cosmetic companies that wish to sell products that contain talc
Tuesday, January 25, 2022 - On January 13, 2022, the US Food and Drug Administration published the most significant report on talcum powder asbestos testing to date. The White Paper highlights the more sensitive asbestos testing method the FDA will be using and requiring cosmetics companies to use. The move is noteworthy because the FDA requires sound scientific data showing that a product may be harmful to consumers before it warrants the agency taking action. Talc first became a concern to the FDA when the connection between talc and ovarian cancer became evident more than 60 years ago, and talc's connection to carcinogenic asbestos more than 50 years ago. Inhaling talc contaminated with asbestos is thought to cause mesothelioma, a deadly scaring of the lining of the lungs, leading to death. According to the FDA White Paper, "Published scientific literature going back to the 1960s has suggested a possible association between the use of powders containing talc in the genital area and the incidence of ovarian cancer." "However, these studies have not conclusively demonstrated such a link, or if such a link existed, what risk factors might be involved. The FDA has ongoing research in this area," the FDA repeatedly told concerned consumers. The agency failed to see the serious nature of the talc cancer allegations and seemed to ignore the problem for decades, failing to require talcum powder cancer warning on Johnson's Baby Powder.
The FDA stresses that the law does not require cosmetics, health, and beauty care product manufacturers to share product safety data, and advises that these products used daily on babies and infants do not undergo review or approval before being sold to consumers. Instead, the FDA relies on consumer feedback in the form of adverse events reported by doctors, hospitals, and consumers before they consider taking action. It took billions of dollars of jury punitive damage awards to get the FDA's attention and to test Johnson's Baby Powder for asbestos, a known carcinogen. In 2020, Johnson's Baby Powder talc tested positive for asbestos prompting the company to stop selling it in the lucrative North American market of Canada and the United States. Johnson and Johnson's sole talc supplier Imerys Inc., also declared their North American talc mining operations bankrupt under the weight of being named as co-defendants with Johnson & Johnson and the magnitude of the talcum powder ovarian cancer jury awards.
The most efficient adverse event reporting system, however, is the US Court System where more than 40,000 women with ovarian cancer have filed Johnson's Baby Powder cancer lawsuits. Multi-billion dollar jury awards over the last decade against Johnson & Johnson have forced the FDA to proactively test talc, the active ingredient in Johnson's Baby Powder and thousands of other skincare and cosmetic products, for asbestos, a known carcinogen. Johnson's Baby Powder ovarian cancer trials that were in progress were put on hold until a New Jersey bankruptcy judge decides whether or not Johnson and Johnson's baby powder business warrants bankruptcy protection.