A team of experts from eight different federal agencies has presented the U.S. Food and Drug Administration with preliminary recommendations to standardize the testing of talc for the presence of asbestos and other potentially harmful mineral products.

The recommendations, some of which reject long-held talc industry positions, are designed to end the discrepancies in analysis of whether talc products are contaminated with cancer-causing substances.

Preliminary recommendations will be part of the FDA’s public meeting on Feb. 4 to discuss and obtain scientific information on testing for asbestos in talc-based products such as Johnson’s Baby Powder.

Johnson & Johnson currently is facing more than 15,000 lawsuits stemming from consumers who are claiming its talc products have caused their cancers, including malignant mesothelioma.

The FDA in 2018 formed the Interagency Working Group on Asbestos in Consumer Products (IWGAC), which will present the findings as part of the day-long event in Silver Springs, Maryland. The goal, in forming the group, was improving consumer product safety.

“It is imperative that appropriate monitoring methods are available to detect asbestos in talc to ensure its suitability as a raw material for use as an ingredient in consumer products,” the panel wrote as part of its preliminary recommendations. “Inhalation of asbestos, from any source, is a safety concern.”

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