Many of us look to supplements to either improve or maintain good health and, while many dietary supplements on the market are proven safe and effective, the majority of them lack evidence to support any such claims. In an article published by ConsumerLab.com, safety issues regarding talc-based dietary supplements came into question since talc is prone to asbestos contamination. Unfortunately, unlike medications and medical devices, dietary supplements are not as heavily regulated, leaving buyers to fend for themselves.
Those who are exposed to asbestos through talc-based products could develop serious health conditions years later, such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer.
Talc and Dietary Supplements
Given that talc can become contaminated by asbestos, you might be wondering why it is included in dietary supplements at all. Talc is actually an anti-clumping agent that is used to prevent certain ingredients from sticking to the machinery that produces the tablets. When used as a food additive, talc is usually recognized as safe (GRAS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Having a GRAS designation also means that a substance does not have to uphold the Federal Food Drug, and Cosmetic Act food additive tolerance requirements.
Linking Talc to Asbestos in Dietary Supplements
Since talc has a GRAS designation, it is not required to undergo testing for contamination or purity. Moreover, there are also no federal regulations prohibiting the use of asbestos in talc products. The agency can only take action if a product has been scientifically proven to cause harm.
Dietary supplements fall under the Dietary Supplements and Health Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994 and are defined as a product that is designed to supplement a person’s diet and includes one or more dietary ingredients, such as a mineral, vitamin, herb, amino acids, or a concentrate, to name a few. However, dietary supplement manufacturers do not have to make sure a product is safe prior to releasing it.
Third-Party Supplement Testing
While dietary supplements are not subject to mandatory testing for purity, companies can voluntarily choose to pay a fee and have independent testing done that can check for contamination and active ingredients in a product. Since the FDA does not play a role in regulating such products, third party supplement testing organizations can help consumers find safe and reliable dietary supplements by conducting these tests.
Choosing Safe Dietary Supplements
One of the only ways to know for certain if the talc used in a dietary supplement is free of asbestos is if it is labeled “USP,” which stands for U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention. Only supplement products with this designation are guaranteed to be free of asbestos. However, most products do not specify the talc component as USP and, therefore, it is incredibly difficult to tell if talc-containing supplements are contaminated with asbestos.
While there are no guarantees, you can try sticking to well-recognized brands and products with USP certifications for some or most of its ingredients when choosing dietary supplements.
Asbestos Exposure Attorneys
If you were exposed to asbestos and developed a harmful health condition, such as mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer, you need to obtain skilled legal representation today to pursue fair and just compensation. At Shrader & Associates L.L.P., we are committed to representing those who have been exposed to this harmful chemical nationwide and will do what is necessary to hold all responsible parties accountable.
Get started on your case today and contact our law office at (713) 787-3733 to request your free initial case evaluation with one of our knowledgeable and experienced mesothelioma attorneys.