FDA Takes Action on Talc Cancer Rsk

In my last blog post on the subject of the risks of talc, I pointed out that since the 1970s, manufacturers in the United States have put an emphasis on using asbestos-free talc in consumer products.  I also reviewed the scientific studies looking at the possible link between ovarian cancer and talc use. The findings were split – some studies suggested a slight increase in risk, while others categorically denied any connection.  However, it will always be difficult to determine a definitive link due to confounding variables and the relatively rare incidence of ovarian cancer.

The context was the ongoing controversies revolving around Johnson & Johnson, a significant manufacturer of talc-infused products. I noted that while they have been heavily targeted with lawsuits claiming their products cause cancer, these legal rulings do not always align with the scientific consensus.

In a recent announcement the FDA acknowledges that there have been concerns about the safety of talc, particularly its potential link to ovarian cancer when used in the genital area, and its possible contamination with asbestos, a known carcinogen. However, the FDA states that the scientific evidence is inconclusive. The agency has not established a causal link between talc use and ovarian cancer, nor has it definitively confirmed the presence of asbestos in talc products.

Despite the inconclusive evidence, the FDA has taken steps to further investigate the safety of talc. The agency has conducted laboratory testing on a variety of talc-containing cosmetic products to check for the presence of asbestos.

Overall, while the FDA has not definitively confirmed the risks associated with talc, it is actively investigating the matter and taking steps to ensure the safety of cosmetic products. I have a feeling that this will not really help much.  The FDA’s wording is neutral so it won’t persuade anyone who is worried to become less worried. I doubt they’ll be comforted by the new testing and surveillance because they probably imagined that that was being done all along.  It isn’t a clear statement that talc is safe either, so companies who want to sell talc won’t find it of much help either. So the ambiguity continues and is likely to be of use only to lawyers.

1 thought on “FDA Takes Action on Talc Cancer Rsk”

  1. The problem with research in this area is also that there is no way to definitively prove X doesn’t cause Y. So if someone is convinced talc causes cancer, no study could ever convince them it doesn’t.

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