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.”

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2 COMMENTS

  1. The late Samuel S. Epstein, M.D. and others, have been advocating a warning label on this for many years:
    https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/assets/usa-health-fda-talc/epstein-2nd-petition.pdf Quote:

    “PETITION SEEKING A CANCER WARNING ON COSMETIC TALC PRODUCTS May 13, 2008 Mike Leavitt Secretary of Health and Human Services U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D. Commissioner of Food and Drugs Dockets Management Branch Food and Drug Administration, Room 1601 5630 Fishers Lane Rockville, MD 20852 Citizen Petition The undersigned submits this May 13, 2008, Citizen Petition on behalf of: Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., Chairman, Cancer Prevention Coalition (CPC), and Professor emeritus Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health; Peter Orris, M.D., Professor and Chief of Service, University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center; Quentin Young, M.D., Chairman, Health and Medicine Policy Research Group, Chicago; Rosalie Bertell, Ph.D., International Association for Humanitarian Medicine, Scientific Advisor to the International Institute of Concern for Public Health, Toronto, and the International Science Oversight Board of the Organic Consumers Association, Washington, D.C.; and Ronnie Cummins, National Director of the Organic Consumers Association. This Petition, submitted under 21 U.S.c. 321 (n), 361, 362, and 371 (a); and 21 CFR 740.1, 740.2 of21 CFR 10.30 of the Federal

    • The undersigned submits this May 13, 2008, Citizen Petition on behalf of: Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., Chairman, Cancer Prevention Coalition (CPC), and Professor emeritus Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health; Peter Orris, M.D., Professor and Chief of Service, University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center; Quentin Young, M.D., Chairman, Health and Medicine Policy Research Group, Chicago; Rosalie Bertell, Ph.D., International Association for Humanitarian Medicine, Scientific Advisor to the International Institute of Concern for Public Health, Toronto, and the International Science Oversight Board of the Organic Consumers Association, Washington, D.C.; and Ronnie Cummins, National Director of the Organic Consumers Association. This Petition, submitted under 21 U.S.c. 321 (n), 361, 362, and 371 (a); and 21 CFR 740.1, 740.2 of21 CFR 10.30 of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, requests the Commissioner of Food and Drugs to require that all cosmetic talc products bear labels with a warning such as, “Frequent application of talcum powder in the female genital area substantially increases the risk of ovarian cancer.” FDA00001326” Dr. Epstein died March 18, 2018 at age 91.,

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