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FDA prevented from answering questions about asbestos in talc

Louisville residents may have heard about how Johnson & Johnson is facing numerous asbestos-related lawsuits. The plaintiffs claim that they developed mesothelioma after continual use of the company's talc-based baby powder. However, there is some question as to whether talc itself and not just talc contaminated with asbestos can cause mesothelioma.

It is a question that J&J and other companies faced with similar lawsuits have long pressured the FDA into leaving unanswered. Significantly, the Asbestos in Talc Symposium recently held by the FDA included speakers who have testified on behalf of the talc companies against the victims in these lawsuits. Medical experts who take the other side were not allowed to participate in the symposium.

The FDA has basically left it to these companies to regulate themselves when it comes to using talc. For its part, the FDA claims that it has no authority to force companies to undergo asbestos testing. Meanwhile, the companies are reportedly hiding evidence of asbestos in their products from the FDA, according to records gathered in a Reuters report.

However, the FDA did test a bottle of J&J's talc-based baby powder back in 2018 and found asbestos. Congress may take steps to free the FDA from over-reliance on companies for data regarding the safety of their products.

Asbestos-related lawsuits meet with much opposition whether they are aimed at employers or the makers of an asbestos-laced product. Those with affected family members may file a lawsuit on their behalf, but it may be wise to see a lawyer before taking any official steps. A lawyer might hire third-party investigators to show just how the victim was exposed to asbestos on the job or through a product. The lawyer may then strive for a settlement out of court, litigating as a last resort.

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