Decades After Exposure, Veterans with Mesothelioma See FDA Struggling with Asbestos

Veterans who have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma are well aware of the insidious nature of asbestos exposure. The mineral was widely used in countless military applications, leaving service men and women vulnerable to various asbestos-related diseases while the manufacturers and distributors who supplied the Armed Forces with these products kept its dangers a secret. Once this information was revealed, the military stopped using asbestos and veterans were able to pursue the manufacturers in court. Now it has come to light that consumers are being victimized in the same way, as its been revealed that consumer products like Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder used asbestos-contaminated talc in their products without alerting the public of its risks. Even more alarming is the fact that the FDA has no authority to do anything about it.

The impotence of the FDA has come to light as thousands of mesothelioma and ovarian cancer victims are filing lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson’s and popular retailers like Claire’s are revealed to be selling makeup that contains asbestos. Though the FDA is able to issue statements and request that the companies act to recall their products, the companies are under no obligation to comply because the FDA’s powers do not extend to regulating the cosmetic industry. It’s a problem that outgoing FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is trying to solve.

Gottlieb and his colleague, Susan Mayne of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, released a joint statement recently decrying the FDA’s inability to protect consumers from illnesses like mesothelioma. They say that due to “existing limitations on our cosmetic oversight authority” the agency cannot act, and are requesting that legislators take action to change the rules. “To significantly shift the safety paradigm of cosmetics in the U.S., we would need to work with stakeholders, including Congress, to modernize the outdated regulatory framework that the FDA has been operating under for more than 80 years when it comes to cosmetics.”

While the FDA has requested that companies provide ingredient lists for their products, until the laws change they will have no ability to act aggressively, even towards companies whose products risk consumers being exposed to asbestos or the risk of mesothelioma. If you are a veteran who has already been affected by this rare disease, we can help you access the benefits you need. Contact us today at 1-800-726-7245.


Author: Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor, and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing the copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.