The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recently announced a public meeting to address current asbestos identification methods in talcum powder. The FDA asbestos identification meeting has been pitched as an important fact-finding step in federal efforts to keep asbestos minerals out of cosmetic products.

According to the FDA’s summary of the FDA asbestos identification meeting, the purpose is “to discuss and obtain scientific information on topics related to testing methodologies, terminology, and criteria that can be applied to characterize and measure asbestos and other potentially harmful elongate mineral particles (EMPs) that may be present . . . in talc and cosmetic products manufactured using talc as an ingredient.” The public meeting may be crucial to qualifying expert witnesses for thousands of plaintiffs involved in national talcum powder cases.nation.

According to the FDA asbestos identification meeting brief, current laboratory tests for asbestos reach different conclusions with even the most sensitive microscopy methods. According to the FDA, this professional dissent derives from a lack of a uniform standard for testing with “unambiguous guidelines for identifying and counting asbestos fibers.”

The FDA asbestos identification meeting will be headed by members of the interagency working group on asbestos in consumer products (IWGACP) presenting preliminary testing methods including new criteria for asbestos identification and counting. The meeting will commence on Feb. 4, 2020. The FDA will accept requests to make presentations and comments until Jan. 17, 2020, and post-meeting comments will be accepted until March 4, 2020.