KUWAIT: Beauty products containing cancer-causing asbestos are banned under official Kuwaiti and Gulf Cooperation Council safety standards, a Kuwaiti health ministry official underlined on Monday. Assistant undersecretary for pharmaceutical and nutrition control Abdullah Al-Bader made the remarks in response to reports that talcum powder products contain the dangerous substance. The ministry's department of pharmaceutical and agricultural registration and control ensures the safety of talc products on the market, having conducted an in-depth study into their contents, he said.

The department's experts have also assessed laboratory analysis certification from the manufacturing companies revealing that these products are free from the substance. The official mentioned a similar study by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published on its official website on products, including Johnson & Johnson's baby powder, which came to the same conclusion. The ministry is in constant contact with global and regional bodies regarding the safety standards of pharmaceutical products, whether cosmetic or medicinal, Bader added. The official urged obtaining accurate information from official sources.

A Reuters report last week alleged Johnson & Johnson had deliberately concealed for decades that its baby powder sometimes contained asbestos. A lengthy investigation by the news agency, which reviewed thousands of company documents, showed the company marketed talc-based products that, at least between 1971 and the beginning in the 2000s, sometimes contained asbestos. The company's executives, researchers, doctors and lawyers were aware but deliberately chose not to disclose this information and not to refer it to the authorities, according to the report. - Agencies