New FDA paper could improve safety around talc and asbestos

New FDA paper could improve safety around talc and asbestos

Cosmetics manufacturers in the United States are likely going to be required to change their testing processes for asbestos.

According to a white paper released by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it is recommended that manufacturers improve on current testing requirements, which were first implemented in 1976, and look at talc-based products for the presence of asbestos.

Under the proposed change, manufacturers will be required to use X-ray diffraction followed by polarised light microscopy and transmission electron microscopy.

The process mimics that used by the FDA itself. The agency is aware “that methods employed by some industry members to test for asbestos in talc-containing cosmetic products may not always detect the presence of asbestos.”

Talc, which is commonly used in a range of cosmetics, occurs naturally and can be found near asbestos in some instances. Mining talc can yield a product that is tainted with asbestos.

The FDA has not yet announced whether there will be an update to the testing standards for manufacturers and is seeking peer reviews on the white paper initially before implementing any changes to the policy.

Nine products tested by the FDA in 2019 were found to contain asbestos. The FDA only tests fifty products per year on average.

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