Elected officials have shed light on a dangerous issue that’s still not resolved: continued asbestos use in America with contaminated talc powder products. Despite decades of legislation, medical research and public outcry, companies continue to use asbestos-contaminated talc in manufacturing their personal care, hygiene and cosmetic products.

Johnson & Johnson® Ignites National Concern

Johnson & Johnson® has been a headliner in the contaminated talc issue after participating in numerous trials that claim the company uses asbestos-contaminated talc in their baby powder and other products. A report by Reuters discovered a series of documents in which Johnson & Johnson actively covered up their asbestos use and acknowledged, “no final product will ever be made which will be totally free from respirable particles.”

Of course, Johnson & Johnson is not the only company guilty of manufacturing and distributing asbestos-containing. Recent FDA tests found asbestos in Justice and Claire’s makeup, and both brands intentionally market their products to children and teens.

House Responds to the Latest Talc and Asbestos News

Finally, the House of Representatives is addressing the public asbestos concerns head-on. Several members of the House have proposed new bills, provoking action from the government and sparking hope that companies will finally be held responsible for these injustices.

Here are some of the proposed bills and actions against asbestos use in America:

Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy Hearing

The Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy recently heard testimony from 3 different people on the need to protect the public from asbestos-contaminated talc.

The people sharing their stories and findings with the subcommittee were:

  • Dr. Anne McTiernan from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
  • Scott Faber, Vice President of Government Affairs, Environmental Working Group
  • Marvin Salter, the son of a woman who died from ovarian cancer, who fought J&J in court

Proposed “Personal Care Products Safety Act”

Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Dianne Feinstein (D-California) have proposed a bipartisan act that would require companies to test their personal products and utilize warning labels to display potential dangers. The Good Housekeeping Institute has endorsed the bill.

Many people feel this bill is long overdue, as regulations guiding personal care products and cosmetics haven’t been updated since 1938 and are far too lax. At present, an FDA loophole doesn’t require companies to perform meaningful safety testing or provide information on products that may be hazardous to human health.

“I’m grateful that Good Housekeeping has endorsed our bill to update federal safety rules for personal care products for the first time since 1938,” said Senator Feinstein. “The scientists who test personal care products at the Good Housekeeping Institute know that a uniform safety standard, including the independent evaluation of ingredients, is long-overdue and sorely needed to protect consumers.”

Bill Proposes Labels of Kids Cosmetics With Asbestos

Representative Debbie Dingell (D-Michigan) has also proposed a bill that would require labels on kids cosmetics that may contain asbestos. All companies would be required to prove their cosmetics are asbestos-free. If they failed the tests, the product would need a warning label.

“Parents should have the peace of mind in knowing that the cosmetics their children use are safe. Yet once again, asbestos was found in products – including glitter and eyeshadow– being marketed and sold to children by the popular retailer Claire’s.” — Representative Debbie Dingell

California Considers Possible Ban on Carcinogenic Cosmetics

California has always been a forerunner in promoting public safety, and even the entrance of Disneyland is carefully decorated with signs warning of potential carcinogens within. In that vein, it comes as little surprise that California is considering a ban on carcinogenic cosmetics.

The proposed “Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act” would prohibit the use of formaldehyde, mercury, lead, asbestos and 16 other chemicals as ingredients in cosmetics sold in California.

Revived Interest in a National Ban on Asbestos Use in America

While the United States has always been business-friendly, even when that business may cause harm to Americans, there’s new talk of a national asbestos ban. Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici and Senator Jeff Merkley have proposed a new bill that would ban asbestos across the nation.

“It’s been challenging to ban asbestos because of the interests of the chemical industry, but we have to join the rest of the world. All the other countries that have said this is too big of a risk to take. The health impacts are significant.” — Congresswoman Bonamici

Asbestos is banned in Australia, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and more than 50 other countries.

DOJ Investigates Johnson & Johnson

The Department of Justice is investigating Johnson & Johnson due to the growing pile of evidence that the company knew about the dangers of their talc-based products and actively buried them. Johnson & Johnson has maintained their innocence throughout every lawsuit and investigation, but it’s getting harder to hide their crimes.

A New Era for Asbestos Use in America?

The public pressure on the government and various organizations to control and end asbestos use in America is a positive indicator that times are changing. Consumers are furious with companies taking advantage of their health for profit, and the consensus is that “enough is enough.” Perhaps the days of victims needlessly dying from asbestos exposure will finally come to an end.

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma due to exposure from asbestos in products, contact Mesothelioma Hope to have your case reviewed.

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Laura WrightWritten by:

Lead Editor

Laura Wright is a journalist and content strategist with more than 15 years of professional experience. She attended college at the University of Florida, graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2008. Her writing has been featured in The Gainesville Sun and other regional publications throughout Florida.

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  1. Reuters, “Johnson & Johnson knew for decades that asbestos lurked in its Baby Powder,” Retrieved from
    https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/johnsonandjohnson-cancer/ Accessed on March 31, 2019.

  2. Good Housekeeping, “So, About the FDA Finding Asbestos in Claire’s Makeup: Here’s What the Government Is Doing About It,” Retrieved from https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/a26799206/asbestos-in-makeup/ Accessed on March 31, 2019.

  3. Committee on Oversight & Reform, “Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy: Examining the Public Health Risks of Carcinogens in Consumer Products,” Retrieved from
    https://oversight.house.gov/legislation/hearings/examining-the-public-health-risks-of-carcinogens-in-consumer-products Accessed on March 31, 2019.

  4. CNN, “Talc cancer concerns get their day in Congress,” Retrieved from
    https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/12/health/talc-hearing-congress/index.html Accessed on March 31, 2019.

  5. Diane Feinstein, “Good Housekeeping Institute Endorses Personal Care Products Safety Act,” Retrieved from https://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=FB9ED125-C547-4155-A23F-A731F06C607C Accessed on March 31, 2019.

  6. Lexology, “All that Glitters is Not Gold: After Confirming Asbestos Presence in Cosmetic Products, FDA Signals Increased Scrutiny and Calls on Industry to Do More to Protect Consumers,” Retrieved from
    https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=3a7fa0cf-9d99-4efa-b35a-d44b6d8af04b Accessed on March 31, 2019.

  7. EWG, “Bill Would Require Warning Labels on Kids’ Cosmetics That Could Contain Asbestos,” Retrieved from
    https://www.ewg.org/release/bill-would-require-warning-labels-kids-cosmetics-could-contain-asbestos Accessed on March 31, 2019.

  8. Parents.com, “New Bill Would Require Asbestos Warning Labels on Children’s Makeup,” Retrieved from
    https://www.parents.com/news/new-bill-would-require-asbestos-warning-labels-on-childrens-makeup/ Accessed on March 31, 2019.

  9. Debbie Dingell, “Dingell, Schakowsky Act to Keep Children’s Cosmetics Safe,” Retrieved from https://debbiedingell.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/dingell-schakowsky-act-keep-children-s-cosmetics-safe Accessed on March 31, 2019.

  10. Cosmetics Business, “California considers ban on cancer-causing chemicals,” Retrieved from
    https://www.cosmeticsbusiness.com/news/article_page/California_considers_ban_on_cancer-causing_chemicals/153126 Accessed on March 31, 2019.

  11. KATU, “Oregon lawmakers working on nationwide asbestos ban,” Retrieved from
    https://katu.com/news/local/oregon-lawmakers-working-on-nationwide-asbestos-ban Accessed on March 31, 2019.

  12. ABC News, “DOJ and SEC are investigating Johnson & Johnson over asbestos-related claims in its baby powder,” Retrieved from
    https://abcnews.go.com/Business/doj-sec-investigating-johnson-johnson-asbestos-related-claims/story?id=61209442 Accessed on March 31, 2019.

  13. EWG, “More Oversight Needed for Cosmetics Made with Talc,” Retrieved from https://www.ewg.org/release/more-oversight-needed-cosmetics-made-talc Accessed on March 31, 2019.

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