Group asks NAFDAC, others to create awareness on effects of talc to save lives
The Foundation of the Conservation of the Earth (FOCONE) has tasked the National Agency for Food, Drug/Administration (NAFDAC) to alert Nigerians to the presence of a hazardous mineral in powder and other cosmetics products in Nigerian markets, known as talc.
The group noted that talc; a major component in powder and cosmetics productions is often contaminated by asbestos during mining.
In a document signed by the Executive Director of FOCONE, Patrick Chiekwe, and read by its Consultant, Kingsley Ozegbe, in Port Harcourt, the group explained that asbestos contains cancer causing particles and according to the World Health Organization (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer classified talc that contains asbestos as ‘Carcinogenic to humans’.
Ozegbe said, “We wish to inform the public that some talc powder and cosmetics being sold in Nigerian markets contain asbestos. According to the WHO’s international agency for research on Cancer, talc that contain asbestos is classified as carcinogenic to human.
“The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the United States Geological Survey at different times held that asbestos are found close to talc deposits underground and sometimes s contaminates talc when it is mined.”
The group called on the National Agency for Food, Drug/ Administration (NAFDAC), the Federal Government and the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), to begin a nationwide campaign on the dangers associated with contaminated talc powder, and other talc-based cosmetics products to help the populace desist from further use of the products.
The group claimed that the discovery led to the decision by an international company renowned for baby cosmetics products to withdraw the sale of its products from the publics (markets) in the United States (US), and Canada in 2020 but regretted that the same products were shipped into Nigerian markets till date.
They called on the government to swing into action and order the J&J to also withdraw all of its products in Nigeria and stop the circulation, sale of same in the country and across the world and equally replace talc metal with corn starch as it has done in the US and Canada.
“This discovery spurred series of serious public pressure for the withdrawal of talc products from the public in US and Canada.
On may 19 2020, Johnson and Johnson (J&J) announced that it will discontinue sale of its talc baby powder in US and Canada, after thousands of women who uses the products developed Ovarian cancer and filled law suits against the company.
“Now, J&J has replaced its talc products with Cornstarch for those countries (US and Canada), but continued to sale off talc baby powder in Nigeria and other countries.”
Furthermore, the activists alleged that as at March 2020, the company (J&J), had no less than 19, 400 litigations hanging on its neck in respect of its talc products, while an Appeal court in the United States upheld the decision of the lower court (jury) that J&J’s talc was responsible for the Ovarian cancer suffered by 22 women and slammed it with 2.12 billion USD for damages, and in October, 2020 the company agreed to pay the sum of 100 million USD in settlement of over 1000 lawsuits in the United States.
The Appeal courts was quoted to have concluded that, “J&J worked tirelessly to ensure that testing protocols would not detect asbestos in all talc samples and published articles, downplaying the safety hazards of talc.
“Large number of the lawsuits accused the company of hiding cancer risks associated with their talc products, based on this, several judges find the company billions of dollars as damages for poor handling of their products.” the statement by the activists claimed.
Speaking further, the people claimed that women and babies, children are vulnerable to the risks of usage, alleging that the company knew about the health risks associated with its products by still maintained the sale in the market.
They said, “according to the internal, secret document of the company that leaked out to the public, the company knew about the asbestos contamination in its talc powder for several decades, but yet continued the sell of the products around the world.
The Civil Society group maintained that the product which is not safe in the US and Canada will also not be safe for humans in Nigeria and other parts of the world, hence they called on “J&J as well as other manufacturing companies to discontinue the sale of talc- based products, and cosmetics in Nigeria and other parts of the world for health and safety reasons,” among others.
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