A U.S. firm, Beauty Plus Global Inc., has recalled four cosmetics products after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that they were contaminated with asbestos, a carcinogenic substance. On its Web site, the FDA emphasized that the company recalled the products voluntarily. Nevertheless, the matter is hardly an individual case. The company recently recalled another product.
In a feature in Chemical Watch, Scott Faber, senior vice president of the U.S. non- profit Environmental Working Group (EWG), wrote that within less than two years, the FDA found traces of asbestos in talc-based children’s cosmetics for the third time. Talc-based cosmetics are common and exist in great numbers. The EWG database lists more than 2,000 such products. Of those, 1,200 are powders, so that dust from the product can be inhaled. The problem? Although talcum itself is harmless, it can be contaminated with asbestos because both substances come from the same raw material.
The situation causes insecurity among consumers. More than 13,000 lawsuits on product safety are currently pending again the pharmaceutical and consumer goods manufacturer Johnson & Johnson. And product safety is required by U.S. law, the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act (FFDC). The FDA is not obligated to perform an inspection, but Scott Faber believes that such an obligation is necessary. The last law covering the safety of cosmetics was passed more than 80 years ago. As a result, the FDA has banned only 11 chemicals from use in body care products, while the EU has banned more than 1,300.
In light of the increasing number of recalls, the FDA has asked companies to register their products in the Voluntary Cosmetic Registration Program (VCRP). The FDA advises consumers to be vigilant and report any undesirable results on the MedWatch portal.
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