A couple of weeks ago we posted this article, “Mesothelioma And Cancers Caused By Asbestos-Contaminated Talc In Body Powder Products And Cosmetics: New Scientific Study Provides Evidence Of Asbestos Fibers In Talc”, which explored the asbestos-talc mesothelioma cancer situation.
Given the facts set forth in the underlying news report by investigative reporter Andrew Schneider, “Study: Cosmetic talc products carry asbestos peril”, one would think that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would be taking action.
However, despite medical studies and lawsuits which point to cancers such as mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos-contaminated talc, the FDA maintains — as it has for many years in the past — that it lacks both resources and regulatory authority to protect consumers.
From a second investigative news report by Andrew Schneider, “FDA: Weak laws, sparse resources handcuff angency”, we get these revelations:
Many in public health look with envy at how other governments regulate products containing asbestos-tainted talc.
For example, in April 2009, South Korea’s Food and Drug Administration responded almost instantly after testing showed that hundreds of pharmaceutical and cosmetic products were contaminated with dangerous talc.
Immediately, tens of thousands of individual items _ of more than 1,100 different products –were ordered from store shelves and banned from future sale. They included finished products that were imported from China or made in South Korea from raw Chinese talc. The South Korean government said the imported talc had “dangerously high, completely unacceptable, levels of asbestos.”
As word of the South Korean action spread to the U.S public health community, FDA was asked whether it was sure that talc used here was asbestos free.
The agency repeated its talc mantra that it “relies on mine operators, importers and cosmetic and consumer product makers to ensure the safety of what they sell.”
And later from that same news report we see what this industry self-regulation is getting us, or not, in terms of protection from exposure to asbestos-contaminated talc:
In its examination of the relationship between asbestos and talc in 360 commercial sized and smaller U.S. talc deposits, the USGS reported that “a number of U.S. talc deposits of commercial size . . . . consistently contain talc intergrown with (asbestos) … such as tremolite and (or) anthophyllite,” and that “the amounts differ from none detected to trace to significant amounts of asbestos.”
But many safety experts are more concerned about the enormous volumes of often-cheaper foreign talc being used in the United States.
Import Genius, a commercial operation which tracks shipping activity of millions of products around the world, provided data that showed that in the last 18 months more than 1,400 shipments of talc or talc products were sent into the U.S. from 34 countries.
If someone diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma has no known exposure to the traditional asbestos-containing products such as thermal insulation and fire-proofing materials, investigators are now looking into the possibility that it was their use of beauty or cosmetic products that had asbestos-contaminated talc which may have been the cause of the mesothelioma.
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