It is well known that malignant mesothelioma and other serious diseases are caused by exposure to asbestos. What is less clear is whether the disease can also be caused by talc itself, or whether those who’ve been sickened after years of talc use were affected by asbestos that contaminated talc. That question has been at the root of several lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and other companies that sell talc-based products. A recent report by Reuters revealed that these companies have spent years pressuring the Food and Drug Administration to leave the question of asbestos to them, and that they continue to do so today.
FDA-Sponsored Asbestos in Talc Symposium Featured Industry Experts
Mesothelioma victims are all-too familiar with the experts who spoke at the FDA’s recent “Asbestos in Talc Symposium.” Most were the very same people who have testified on behalf of talc companies and against those diagnosed with the rare and fatal asbestos-related form of cancer. Medical experts who have testified on behalf of victims, and who have provided invaluable information about the types of asbestos that causes mesothelioma and what types of fibers should be looked for were not permitted to participate in the session.
The symposium was organized by FDA cosmetics chief Dr. Linda Katz soon after the slew of mesothelioma and ovarian cancer lawsuits began being filed against companies like Johnson & Johnson’s, accusing them of knowing that their talc-based products contained asbestos and failing to warn about them. Today there are more than 16,000 lawsuits pending against the company.
Failure to Include Mesothelioma Experts In Keeping With FDA’s Previous Deferral to Talc Industry
Despite the fact that experts and consumers have spent decades expressing concerns about asbestos in talc products causing malignant mesothelioma and other illnesses, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has deferred to the companies that sell these products, allowing them to regulate themselves. Though the agency argues that it lacks the authority to force manufacturers to test for asbestos, records show that the lack of authority was the result of pressure from the cosmetic industry, which argued against agency oversight. Other records show that Johnson & Johnson failed to notify the agency when asbestos was found in their product.
Today the company is under intense scrutiny, particularly after a recent FDA test revealed asbestos in a bottle of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder purchased in 2018. Though the company continues to argue against these findings, Congress is now beginning to look into the issue, and it is hoped that they will enact laws that will stop the FDA from relying on industry insiders for assurances about safety.
There is much more to be learned about the role that talc-based powders play in malignant mesothelioma and other illnesses. If you have been diagnosed with one of these diseases and you need information, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.