Posts Tagged ‘talcum powder cancer links’

11 Baby Powders Contain Deadly Substance

Monday, April 12th, 2010

The Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) confirmed Thursday that it had detected asbestos in baby talcum powder.

The KFDA, said 11 products including “Nuke Baby Powder” produced by Boryeong, one from the nation’s largest baby goods producers, were found to be contaminated with asbestos ? presumably from the manufacturing process. It banned the sales of the respective products and called for a halt of the use of talc in others.

Asbestos is known to cause respiratory diseases such as asbestosis and lung cancer, and talc had long been though to be contaminated with it. EU states and the United States have ordered manufacturers to refine talc thoroughly to remove all asbestos since 2005 and 2006 respectively.

In Korea, the use of asbestos is regulated at construction sites and manufacturing plants, but the use of talc had remained unregulated until local broadcaster KBS requested the authorities to check on the product for one of its investigative programs last month.

The KFDA admitted to having been lax on catching up with global health trends. “We were not aware of it for a long time,” an agency official said. Manufacturers of the products also said that they were not given any guidelines on the use of talc and that they were not aware of global issues.

However, tens of thousands of mothers who have been using such baby goods to dry the skin of their babies were furious.

“Never foul food and children’s products! Don’t they know babies are much more sensitive and vulnerable than adults?” the angry mother of an eight-month-old baby, Cho, said. “Don’t the manufacturers have children?”

A mother of a two-year-old girl, Chung sun-ae, also said the news worried her because baby powder is one of the most used items during the summer, when babies sweat a lot. “This is how we lose trust in the government,” she said.

The KFDA said there has not yet been a report of possible cancer or other health problems from using talcum powder that could contain a small amount of asbestos.

“Powder spreads into the air and the actual amount of asbestos would be very small,” a KFDA official reportedly said. The organization consulted the Journal of Toxicology and Public Health Environmental Mutagens and Carcinogens regarding possible prevalence.

Considering that it takes more than a decade for asbestos to affect the human body, it is too soon to conclude the talc used was safe, civic groups noted. Rep. Hong Hee-deok of the Democratic Labor Party also said, “Japan made it an issue more than 10 years ago. The government should investigate all products containing talc and other asbestos-related materials.”

Some worry whether talc in cosmetic powders for adults also contain asbestos. “We cannot rule out the possibility,” the KFDA said, adding that it has launched an investigation into all products on the market.