When you use a trusted product like Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder or a popular brand of make-up, it likely never crosses your mind that doing so could put you at risk for malignant mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related disease That’s because as Americans, we believe that the government, in the form of the Food and Drug Administration, regulates the use of toxic chemicals and poisons and protects us from using products that could harm us. Though the FDA does provide a significant amount of oversight, you might be surprised to learn that it has almost no authority over the cosmetic industry. In the face of rising concerns about the presence of asbestos in products that we use every day, the outgoing head of the agency is calling for changes to be made to existing laws.
The most recent example of how little the FDA can do about mesothelioma-causing asbestos in consumer products comes following the discovery of the dangerous mineral in cosmetics sold by mall retailer Claire’s. The contamination was first revealed by a consumer who used her own funds to have her daughter’s make-up products tested. This was followed by the retailer volunteering to pull the products, though they objected strenuously and insisted that their products were not contaminated. The FDA recently revealed that their own testing had confirmed the presence of the dangerous substance, and asked the company to pull the product, but that is essentially the limit of their power.
Speaking of the problem, outgoing FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb did not specifically address the issue of mesothelioma or asbestos. Instead he spoke of the lack of safety testing requirements for cosmetic manufacturers, as well as of the general need for laws that require cosmetics to undergo FDA reviews and approval in the same way that drugs do. Issuing a statement with Susan Mayne of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, he wrote, “To significantly shift the safety paradigm of cosmetics in the U.S., we would need to work with stakeholders, including Congress, to modernize the outdated regulatory framework that the FDA has been operating under for more than 80 years when it comes to cosmetics.”
There may be legislation introduced to advance this idea, but in the meantime consumers continue to be at risk. If you have been affected by mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease and believe it may be a result of a product that you used, we can help. Contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.