New Delhi: With the huge hue and cry relating to the Johnson and Johnson’s baby talcum power and its probable link to cancer taking centre stage, many other baby powder makers in India have also fallen under the drug regulator’s scanner.
According to a recent media report, the baby care range of products by Himalaya and Chicoo are now under the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) regulatory scanner. The regulatory body has collected over 200 samples of various talcum powders, soaps, shampoos and other baby products to check safety and compliance.
After allegations on Johnson and Johnson’s (J&J) talcum powder containing cancer-causing asbestos surfaced, a fresh investigation in India triggered to check the safety of not just J&J baby powder but all infant products available in the Indian market.
Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that the country’s top drug regulator, the CDSCO, drew samples of J&J baby powder from the company’s Baddi plant in Himachal Pradesh and Mulund plant in Mumbai after reports in the US alleged that the product contained “cancer-causing” asbestos. This was part of a massive nationwide action against the American multinational pharmaceutical major to draw samples of their talcum powder.
Following the inspection, the regulator ordered the firm to not use talc raw material from its Mulund plant in Mumbai and Baddi unit in Himachal Pradesh for production till further direction.
The move also broadened the scope of the investigation to cover the company’s iconic brands of baby shampoo and soap.
In the current scenario, the main focus of the investigation by CDSCO is to confirm that all talcum powder brands in the Indian market are safe and do not contain cancer-causing asbestos.Besides powder, the regulator collected samples of various other products from the retail market, distributors and wholesalers to test for asbestos and other compliance as per the Indian standards.
TOI reports that the regulatory body has collected around 150 samples of talcum powder and another 50 samples of other baby care products such as baby shampoo, cream, lotion and soap. Besides samples of finished products, the regulator has also picked up around 14 samples of raw material, primarily talc, used in making these products.
All the collected samples have been sent for testing to one of the central testing laboratories with specialisation in testing cosmetics.
“We want to ensure that not only J&J’s but all the baby products available in Indian markets are safe and asbestos free. Therefore, after collecting samples from J&J during site inspections, we decided to test samples of other brands of baby products too,” an official told TOI.
He further added that the test reports for the samples are likely to come within next 15 days.
As per the daily, in July, a Missouri court had ordered J&J to pay $4.7 billion (Rs 470 crores) compensation and damages to 22 women in the US who claimed asbestos in its talc had caused them ovarian cancer.
Currently, the company is facing more than 9,000 cases over body powder containing talc and has consistently denied that its products are dangerous or contain asbestos.
Medical Dialogues had recently reported that an NGO, Toxics Watch Alliance (TWA) had also written to National Human rights Commission seeking their intervention in the matter.