2020-09-02 14:27

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Heath Alert: Asbestos Fibres Found In Baby Powder

The Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum UK (the Forum) – an umbrella group representing groups supporting UK asbestos victims – alerted UK Ministers in June about the serious health hazard posed by the ongoing sale of talc-based baby powder in the UK; this product is widely believed to contain asbestos fibres and to have caused thousands of cancers amongst users in North America ONLY.

With a UK/US Trade Deal looming, we await the outcome of the current talks with regard to the inclusion of some 4,000 chemicals currently banned by virtue of European Union standards that we currently still have; being allowed into the UK by US companies in their food and agricultural produce and within consumer goods.

The company in the US has been the target of over 19,000 cases of lawsuits claiming that its talc was contaminated with asbestos, which led to cancers such as mesothelioma and ovarian cancer.

Whilst Asbestos and talc are both naturally occurring minerals that often are found in close proximity near the Earth’s surface. Asbestos is a well-known carcinogen, and its inhalation or ingestion can lead to a number of serious health issues such as mesothelioma cancer, lung cancer and asbestosis, reports US based website Asbestos.com

On 19th May, the American pharmaceutical multinational Johnson & Johnson (J&J) announced it was withdrawing this product from sale in the U.S. and Canada, once current stocks were gone.

In their presses release, Johnson & Johnson stood by their insistence that their baby products are safe, and that the reason for the decision is based purely on the drop in sales of their Baby Powder brand.

Commenting on this announcement, the Forum issued this press release:

Whilst this is good news for North Americans, J&J’s toxic baby powder will continue to be sold in the UK and other markets.

Both the talc-based baby powder and J&J’s safer cornstarch-based baby powder are available in UK shops and via online outlets; it is unlikely that consumers will be aware of the differences between the two or will know about the potential hazards posed by using J&J’s talc-based baby powder on their babies.

Reflecting on the unsatisfactory situation being faced by UK consumers, Joanne Gordon, Chair of the Forum, expressed the Forum’s concerns when she asked:

“Would busy UK families be aware of the controversy over the continuing sale of J&J’s toxic talc-based baby powder or be in the position to make an informed choice about the risks posed by using a product that might contain asbestos fibres?

Johnson and Johnson is a long established company that many people will trust, yet they are acting in a deplorable manner in prioritising the health of North Americans and neglecting that of people oversees. Human life is sacrosanct. If the company is unable or unwilling to protect the health of all its customers, then government action is called for.”

Observers have suggested that the timing of J&J’s withdrawal of talc-based baby powder from North American markets during the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic was not coincidental. The company may very well have hoped that its contentious actions would go unnoticed. The Forum, is, however, in contact with like-minded groups in Europe and further afield, all of which are determined to hold this pharmaceutical Goliath to account for its immoral and potentially fatal actions.

The Ministers written to were: Edward Argar, Minister of State at the Department of Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Vicky Ford, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families and Elizabeth Truss, Minister for Women and Equalities.

It remains to be seen what response is received from the above politicians, but based upon the sheer panic for a UK/US trade deal, Unionsafety believes that following a trade deal, the US manner of regulating the safety of food and consumer products will move from one of caution and inherent in legislation; the American way of allowing anything to be brought to the marketplace with no regulation unless human harm is proven by plaintiffs in courts of law; will soon become the UK way also.

Source: AVSG Forum / Johnson & Johnson / Unionsafety

See also: What Does A Trump Trade Deal With The UK Mean?



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