Critics Allege EPA Risk Assessment Ignored Concerns About Asbestos In Talc
The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) has accused the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of ignoring asbestos in talc.
The EPA released “Final Risk Evaluation for Asbestos, Part 1: Chrysotile Asbestos” on January 4. The primary findings were that all consumer uses of chrysotile asbestos pose an unreasonable risk to consumers and that commercial chrysotile asbestos uses such as sheet gaskets, chlor-alkali diaphragms, aftermarket automotive linings/brakes, and brake blocks pose an unreasonable risk to workers both in direct contact with and nearby chrysotile asbestos. The report noted that consumer products with chrysotile asbestos include gaskets and aftermarket automotive linings/brakes.
However, the ADAO was very disappointed that the report didn’t address the presence of asbestos in talc, among other issues.
“EPA’s final risk evaluation ignores the numerous recommendations of its own scientific advisors and other independent experts by claiming that these deficiencies will be addressed in a future Part 2 evaluation. Based on this sleight-of-hand maneuver, the Agency has issued a piecemeal and dangerously incomplete evaluation that overlooks numerous sources of asbestos exposure and risk, and understates the enormous toll of disease and death for which asbestos is responsible,” said Linda Reinstein, ADAO president and co-founder.
The ADAO claims that part 1 of the EPA’s risk evaluation:
Fails to address talc contaminated with asbestos
Ignores five types of asbestos and only deals with chrysotile asbestos
Fails to consider the health effects of asbestos like ovarian cancer or asbestosis
Fails to account for asbestos found in millions of buildings in the United States
Fails to address environmental exposure pathways
Is based on incomplete data regarding asbestos use and exposure
The ADAO noted that a recent U.S. District Court decision ruled that the EPA unlawfully failed to use its authority to obtain basic information about asbestos exposure and use. The decision “could not be clearer that EPA lacks a sound understanding of the risks presented by asbestos,” according to ADAO counsel.
Reinstein said that “by kicking the can down the road” the EPA is making sure that at least four years will pass before asbestos-related issues will be comprehensively evaluated and many more years will pass before asbestos can be removed from schools, homes, stores and workplaces.
Johnson & Johnson voluntarily removed their talcum powder products from the United States market. The company had earlier voluntarily recalled one lot of their baby powder due to contamination with chrysotile asbestos.
Many lawsuits which are part of a multidistrict litigation accuse talc manufacturers of manufacturing and selling talc products despite knowing that their products posed a cancer risk to consumers.