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Coal Tar Absorption Rates Pose Cancer Risk, California AG Data Indicate

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

High usage rates of coal tar-containing shampoos and soaps could expose people to an increased risk of cancer, according to data provided to FDA by California Attorney General Bill Lockyer.

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Coal tar

FDA response to citizen petition requesting coal tar-containing products be restricted to Rx-only sales expected by Jan. 22. Perry Gottesfeld, a plaintiff in California Proposition 65 litigation against product manufacturers, asked the agency in March to conduct a "formal review" of coal tar's use in shampoo, soap and ointments. Consolidated trial in separate Prop 65 lawsuits brought by the state and Gottesfeld was stayed until Jan. 29 following defense requests the trial be postponed pending FDA's review (1"The Tan Sheet" Sept. 4, p. 16)

Coal Tar Dandruff Shampoo Cancer Risk Negligible, Whitehall Data Indicate

Consumers would have to absorb 29 mcg/day coal tar for California's Proposition 65 warning to be necessary on coal tar-containing dandruff shampoos, Whitehall-Robins states in recent comments to FDA.

Coal tar

Prop 65 lawsuit pending in California state court "has no direct relationship or bearing" on a citizen petition submitted by Occupational Knowledge International Executive Director Perry Gottesfeld requesting FDA review the safety of coal tar in treating dandruff, psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer asserts Aug. 23. Bergen Brunswig had submitted comments to FDA requesting a formal safety review of coal tar that would preempt the Prop 65 suit (1"The Tan Sheet" Sept. 4, p. 16). However, the AG says there is no cause for FDA intervention since "nothing in the state lawsuit will control the sale, use and distribution of the products"

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