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Cosmetic Talcum Powder Products Consumer Use Risk Assessment

Evaluating potential cumulative asbestos exposures through quantitative risk assessment of talcum powder use

  • United States

    United States

Conducting an updated human health risk assessment to confirm unlikely exposure risk

In the mid-1980s, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) performed a quantitative human risk assessment of cosmetic talc usage. Our scientists set out to conduct an updated quantitative risk assessment to evaluate potential cumulative asbestos exposures associated with various consumer uses of cosmetic talcum powder products.

We evaluated the current literature describing potential consumer exposures to cosmetic talcum powder products and used the most up-to-date regulatory risk assessment methodology for asbestos to evaluate health risk under consumer use scenarios, such as infant diapering or face and body powdering. Our scientists demonstrated that, even assuming a hypothetical trace asbestos content in cosmetic talcum powder products as a “worst-case” scenario, potential cumulative asbestos exposures and associated health risk at these levels were well below cumulative exposures and risk posed by ambient asbestos. Neither of which have been associated with an increased incidence of asbestos-related disease.

The findings from our updated assessment were consistent with the FDA’s original findings and indicated that many typical consumers use scenarios of cosmetic talc are unlikely to pose a cumulative asbestos exposure risk, even when using conservative regulatory approaches to risk assessment.

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