Though the public’s awareness of malignant mesothelioma has long been limited to late-night attorneys’ ads, the rare and deadly asbestos-related disease has been at the top of several news cycles since asbestos was found in children’s cosmetics. Added to the growing number of multi-million dollar lawsuits being filed and won against Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder after allegations that its talc was contaminated with asbestos, and it is no wonder that there is a growing push for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to have greater regulating authority over the personal care industry.
When asbestos was found in children’s makeup kits sold at popular retailers Claire’s and Justice back in March, the FDA was powerless to force the companies to pull the products off of their shelves, despite the knowledge that childhood exposure to asbestos creates a far greater risk of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. Though the companies did eventually remove the products voluntarily, had they chosen not to do so there would have been nothing that the agency could do. Now another group of children’s cosmetics has tested positive for asbestos, and it has moved lawmakers, as well as the industry itself, to push for the FDA to have greater authority. Legislation adding personal care items to the products that the FDA can control has been introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine).
Concern about mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases is top of mind for many of those supporting the change, including the American Academy of Pediatrics. But even manufacturers like Johnson & Johnson’s, which is facing over 14,000 ovarian cancer and mesothelioma lawsuits based on the presence of asbestos in their talc products, have been lobbying in support of the bill. So is consumer protection group the Environmental Working Group, which calls it one of their top priorities. In addition to giving the FDA recall authority, the legislation would require that a minimum of 5 ingredients be studied each year to determine its safety, that serious adverse events be reported, and that complete ingredient lists be made available to the public.
If you or someone you love has been affected by mesothelioma as a result of the mineral contaminating a household product, you need information and experienced representation. Contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.