FDA Examines Asbestos Testing at Public Hearing
by Hannah Slater/Cancernetwork.com
At a hearing on February 4, 2020, the FDA examined asbestos testing for talc powders and cosmetics for the first time in 50 years, after traces of the known carcinogen were found in several such products.
The hearing focused on testing standards recommended by a panel of government experts. Published last month, the recommendations accounted for positions held by public health authorities and experts for plaintiffs who alleged in lawsuits that contaminated talc products were the cause of their cancers.
Notably, one of the more significant recommendations made by the panel was that mineral products found in talc products small enough to be drawn into the lungs, including those that would not technically be categorized as asbestos, should be counted as potentially harmful.
At the hearing, a government toxicologist said a wide range of spear-shaped mineral particles can prompt the development of cancer and should be included in any new testing regime.
Christopher P. Weis, a toxicology liaison at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, said research has indicated that conventional testing methods have failed to detect the full range of elongated mineral particles (EMPs).
“Short EMPs are not conventionally counted or included in lab reports,” Weis said at the hearing. “As a toxicologist, this is unacceptable.”