Environmental Working Group is again urging Congress to require warning labels on talc products after
Johnson & Johnson issued a recall last week of 33,000 bottles of their
baby powder after testing conducted by the Food and Drug Administration
found asbestos in the product. J&J voluntarily
recalled lot #22318RB, which was manufactured and shipped for distribution last year.
The FDA began testing J&J talc baby powder for asbestos earlier this
year after Reuters published a damning expose detailing J&J’s
decades long cover up that their talc sometimes tested positive for asbestos
contamination and nothing was done about it. As it were, the FDA does
not require safety testing for personal-care products and cosmetics before
they are marketed. Products are only tested occasionally, usually if a
complaint has been made.
Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) have introduced
Act to Keep Children’s Cosmetics Safe, that would require labeling on all talc-based products and cosmetics
marketed to children that could contain asbestos. The bill would require
companies to use updated testing methods to ensure that their products
do not contain asbestos. If companies decline to certify that products
are free from asbestos, a warning to consumers would be required on the
packaging that the product has not been tested and there is a risk of
“Parents should have the peace of mind in knowing that the cosmetics
their children use are safe.” Dingell states in her press release.
“No child should be exposed to asbestos through the use of common,
“Most Americans are shocked to realize that cosmetics and personal
care products are one of the least regulated consumer products on the
market. Yet the average American uses about ten of them every day and
is exposed to about 126 unique chemicals from these products,” said
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency came under fire earlier this year
when against the advisement of the EPAs own scientists, a new rule was
announced that potentially gives the EPA power to re-introduce previously
discontinued asbestos products back into the market.
No law prohibits the presence of asbestos in cosmetics. Asbestos has been
banned by more than 50 nations, but its use remains legal in the U.S. The FDA
does not have the power to regulate products that contain talc. Congress
needs to act and pass a mighty federal bill demanding greater oversight
to the existing unrestrained cosmetics industry.