Laban Konsyumer, Inc., a consumer protection group, and the EcoWaste Coalition, a toxics watch group, have cautioned that some cosmetic products lack the required warning label to protect young children from inhaling talc-based powder.
The groups made the observation following the dissemination by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the ASEAN Advisory Statement on Talc, which, among other things, reiterated that talcum powders used in children must carry the warning statement “keep powder away from children’s nose and mouth.”
The said warning label is intended to protect children from inhaling talc in powdery products in line with the ASEAN, European and Canadian cosmetic labeling requirements.
“It’s important for manufacturers to comply with cosmetic labeling requirements under the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive (ACD) and national laws such as the Consumer Act and the Food and Drug Administration Act to adequately guide consumers on products to buy and their proper use,” said Atty. Vic Dimagiba, President, Laban Konsyumer, Inc.
“Products intended for use by young children such as baby talcum powders must bear the required warning statement to prevent and reduce potential health risks from the inhalation of talc,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
The groups further sought assurance from manufacturers that talc used in their products are asbestos-free, noting that asbestos must not form part of a cosmetic formulation under the ACD.
The groups recalled that the FDA had earlier asked manufacturers, importers and distributors of talc-containing cosmetics “to provide proof or certifications of asbestos-free products sold in the market.”
In test buys conducted by the EcoWaste Coalition, seven products were found not to have the required warning label, namely, B&B Kids Body Powder, Babyflo Talc Powder, Carrie Talcum Powder, Cherub Baby Powder, Lucky Talcum Powder, Snake Brand Prickly Heat Cooling Powder, and Young’s Face and Body Powder.
On the other hand, six products were found compliant with the required warning label information, namely, Fissan Diaper Rash Powder, Johnson’s Baby Powder, Kateenson Baby Powder, Lewis & Pearl Body & Face Powder, My Baby Powder, and Tender Care Hypo-Allergenic Baby Powder.
Considering the ongoing debate regarding the possible link between the application of talcum powder and the increased risk of ovarian cancer, the groups proposed expanding the warning label to include the non-use of talcum powder in the vaginal areas.
“As a precautionary measure, we suggest that manufacturers should also warn against the use of talcum powder in the genital areas,” the groups said.
The groups noted that Bench/Daily Scent Refreshing Oil Control Powder already carries a precautionary statement that says: “This product contains talc which has been reported to cause certain illnesses. For you safety, this product should not be applied on genital areas.” It further claims to be “asbestos-free”
Also, Lewis & Pearl Body & Face Powder provides for additional warning that says: “Avoid contact with eyes and genital area.”
“To give consumers a peace of mind, we urge manufactures to indicate on the label that talcum powder products sold in the market are free of asbestos, a known human carcinogen,” the groups said.
According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, asbestos is carcinogenic to humans based on its ability to cause mesothelioma and cancers of the lung, larynx, and the ovary.