It has long been known that asbestos causes malignant mesothelioma and other serious diseases, but exposure to the mineral has generally been associated with working in industrial settings. In recent years, asbestos has also been found in talc-based cosmetic products and consumers have looked to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for help. Last week the agency released a white paper suggesting changes in testing methods for talc and talc-containing cosmetics.
Agency Creates Working Group on Asbestos in Response to Concerns Over Mesothelioma
In the last several years, tens of thousands of individuals diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and ovarian cancer have filed lawsuits against cosmetic companies and talc suppliers. They have accused these companies of negligence and of exposing them to asbestos that they knew contaminated the talc in consumer products that they used.
Mesothelioma attorneys have supported their arguments with both internal company documents showing that company executives knew that asbestos contamination existed and scientific evidence of the mineral’s presence. There efforts have been hampered by arguments over the best method of testing for asbestos. In response the FDA created the Interagency Working Group on Asbestos in Consumer Products (IWGACP) to compile scientific opinions for testing methods.
Group Addresses Shortcomings in Previous Methods of Testing
Though she did not specifically reference mesothelioma and other illnesses associated with asbestos, Susan Mayne, Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition did say, “We have become aware that methods employed by some industry members to test for asbestos in talc-containing cosmetic products may not always detect the presence of asbestos. That’s why an interagency working group sought to take a state-of-the-science look at available methods.”
The scientific suggestions that, if enacted, may prevent future cases of malignant mesothelioma and ovarian cancer are contained in a white paper that will be peer-reviewed and which may be used to support regulatory policy developments and standardized testing methods for asbestos. If the FDA develops recommendations they will be publicized and open to comment.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related disease, developments like these offer hope. For assistance and information on other resources, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.FREE Mesothelioma Packet