Spring 2020 News Update of Naturally Occurring Asbestos

Major Accomplishments:

In 2020, the NOA Commission has increased its membership to include two additional members with strong backgrounds in protecting workers and the public from exposure to NOA:

Mr. Philip Hibbs, CIH, Principal, Hibbs Consultants, Sydney, Australia

Mr. Thomas Zdeb, PG, CIH, Senior Project Chemist & Geologist, AECOM, Santa Ana, CA, USA

The NOA Commission has created 4 sub-groups (Working Groups) tasked to work on global guidance document recommendations for:

  •   Field Methods & Sampling

  •   Laboratory Analysis Methods (PLM, TEM, SEM)

  •   Construction Mitigation Measures (for construction sites, employee protection, public protection, minimizing air emissions)

  •   Erionite (emerging & currently non-regulated elongate mineral with reportedly similar health effects as the 6 regulated asbestos minerals)

    The Commission has created its own website to more efficiently relay information, post links, and share images (Find us at http://noa-emp.info) It is also working closely with the group in charge of the website “WikiNOA”, a site run by a group of NOA researchers in Italy with extensive information on NOA.

    Monthly Meetings

    Our group is currently meeting monthly online (which works best for connecting with our group members in the US, Italy, South Korea, and Australia).

    Publication of a Special Edition of the E&EG Journal on Naturally Occurring Asbestos

    The Special NOA-themed issue of the E&EG Journal was published in February 2020! We are proud to have 20 papers published by authors who participated in the 2018 International NOA Symposium in San Francisco. We believe that this is the first NOA-specific journal to ever be published. We published peer-reviewed papers from Australia, Italy, France, Korea, Germany, New Caledonia, and the USA.

    FDA Hearing on Talc in Consumer Products

    In February, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) Consumer Products Safety Commission held a public hearing to discuss work that has been done over the past year by the Interagency Working Group on Asbestos in Consumer Products (IWGACP) made up of representatives from the FDA, CDC/NIOSH, USGS, ATSDR CPSC, to improve methods for the identification and regulation of asbestos commonly found in talc. Talc is used in many consumer products including beauty products (blush, eye shadow, etc), baby powders, and included for “shimmer” effect in other types of cosmetics, including “toy” cosmetics that are marketed to children and sold at childrens’clothing and accessory stores (Claire’s, Justice, drugstores, etc). The presence of asbestos within talc has been linked to various cancers, including ovarian cancer.

Several members of NOA-EMP and past symposium speakers attended this hearing to hear the recommendations presented by the IWGACP. In March 2020 the NOA Commission submitted an official position statement in support of the work of the FDA IWGACP.

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