Will FDA Act to Protect Consumers from Mesothelioma Risk from Cosmetic Products?

In the early 20th century, few were aware of asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma. In the years since, American workers, veterans and consumers have been diagnosed with the disease, and the public has become far more aware of the risk posed by exposure to the carcinogenic material. Asbestos product companies have been found liable for illnesses and many regulations have been put in place to protect the public against occupational and other exposures. Unfortunately, those protections have not included actions from the Food and Drug Administration to police against asbestos in cosmetic products, and this failing may have led to millions being exposed via products made with talc. As Johnson & Johnson, Colgate-Palmolive and other companies defend themselves in civil lawsuits and asbestos is identified in makeup items sold by the retailer Claire’s, many are calling for the agency to make changes to its current practices in order to provide further protections for American consumers.

Claire’s Makeup Confirmed to be Contaminated with Asbestos

This week the Food and Drug Administration confirmed that their testing showed Claire’s makeup products were contaminated with asbestos, the mineral that causes malignant mesothelioma. The agency’s investigation was sparked by earlier reports generated by consumers, but despite their findings the company has refused to recall their product. This has led to questions about whether the agency’s safety regulations need to be revised to provide greater power for dealing with dangers from cosmetic products. Though the company already pulled the products found to be contaminated, their refusal to recall the specific items named shines a spotlight on how limited the agency’s powers are when it comes to taking actions beyond issuing safety alerts when it comes to consumer products.

FDA Speaks to Limits On Its Own Powers to Protect the Public

Asbestos, which is the single proven cause of malignant mesothelioma, is a mineral that is frequently found in close proximity to talc. This makes contamination a very real possibility, and a question that is being raised in numerous lawsuits. Though the American public has long believed that it could rely on the FDA to protect it when a known risk exists, recent episodes like the presence of asbestos in the Claire’s makeup products has called attention to the need for greater powers for the agency. The laws that outright the agency’s ability to take action were written in 1938, and do not reflect current realities. As indicated in a recent press release from the FDA, “These findings serve as an important reminder that under our current authority, the FDA only has limited tools to ensure the safety of cosmetics products. We are dependent on manufacturers to take steps to ensure the safety of their products.”

If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease and you need information on possible sources of exposure or how best to manage your disease, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our Mesothelioma.net news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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