Is a recent FDA white paper on talc testing too little and too late?

talc from a mineThe FDA recently published a paper on asbestos testing in cosmetics written by the Interagency Working Group on Asbestos in Consumer Products (IWGACP), an agency they created. It was inspired by a public meeting on the subject in February of 2020, some two years ago.

The length of time matches the length of the group’s name the document’s title, “IWGACP Scientific Opinions on Testing Methods for Asbestos in Cosmetic Products Containing Talc (including Talc Intended for Use in Cosmetics).”

Proposed improvements in testing methods

The objective of the white paper is to develop standardized testing methods that would make future analyses more sensitive and consistent. The goal is to more effectively identify the presence of asbestos and comparable talc particles that could severely affect their customers’ product safety.

A total of eight subject matter experts from the various agencies will bring their expertise in testing asbestos and other related issues from a health point of view. The paper details scientific opinions on identifying the presence of talc in cosmetic products, specifically using methods that include Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) and Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM).

The objective is to establish policies and procedures for training and quality assurance and control and ensure that laboratories have the qualifications necessary to be reviewed regularly.

While a step in the right direction, the link between talc and asbestos exposure is not exactly breaking news. Those who suffer from mesothelioma and other diseases caused by the deadly fibers and their family members live with the crystal clear association every day.

Time is not of the essence, as the white paper must undergo an external peer review with a vague deadline of sometime in 2022.