FDA Ghana clears air on talc-containing powders

Mrs Delese A Darko Chief Executive Officer Fda
Mrs Delese A. Darko, the Chief Executive Officer, FDA

The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) Ghana on Tuesday said all talc-containing powders including Johnson and Johnson’s Baby Powder registered for use in the country have rigorously been updated to ensure that they are asbestos-free.

The Authority said it had taken notice of a recent video on social media on the ongoing discussion linking the use of Johnson’s baby talcum powder with ovarian cancers as it had been withdrawn from the North American Market.

The FDA Ghana has assured the public that it had since 2018 increased its regulatory activities and put appropriate measures to ensure public safety in the use of all cosmetics products containing talcum powder.

A statement signed by Mrs Delese Mimi Darko, FDA Chief Executive Officer described talc as a product naturally found near asbestos and has the potential to become contaminated during the mining process.

It said overexposure to such contamination had been linked with cases of ovarian and lung cancers.

The statement said the FDA undertakes several regulatory activities on all talc-based products to ensure they were free from asbestos.

The regulatory activities, it described as stringent evaluation of documentation submitted for registration to ensure that talc in these products were certified from the country of origin as asbestos-free.

The statement noted that the Authority also undertakes rigorous quality control laboratory analyses to verify that indeed the talc-containing powders submitted do not contain asbestos.

It added that the FDA also engages in regular biennial market surveillance activities to verify that products being marketed continued to be free of asbestos.

The statement said the Authority performed periodic evaluations of available peer-reviewed and scientific data from studies by the FDA’s expert Technical Advisory Committee on the Safety of Products.

It noted that: “Currently scientific evidence available and a recent scientific study published in the peer-reviewed Journal of the American Medical Association in January 2020, which reviewed over 250,000 women, from four large studies, including questioning and follow up for an average of 11 years found out that women who used talc in the venereal regions were not higher risk of ovarian cancer than those who did not.”

It said the FDA would continue to analyse cosmetic powders that contain talc for asbestos contamination, monitor closely and review any new safety related to the use of talc in these products, take appropriate action and inform the public accordingly.

Asbestos is the name given to six minerals that occur naturally in the environment as bundles of fibers that can be separated into thin, durable threads for use in commercial and industrial applications.

According to the American Cancer Society, asbestos is a group of minerals that occur naturally as bundles of fibers found in soil and rocks in many parts of the world. They are made mainly of silicon and oxygen, but they also contain other elements.

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