The general public knows that asbestos is dangerous. The cancer-causing mineral should be extinct in commercial goods, yet stories of contamination continue to surface.
The latest troubling report is about asbestos found in a children’s toy makeup kit. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) published the information last week, citing laboratory tests that detected asbestos’ presence in talc-based eye shadow.
The brand in question is IQ Toys, which makes the Princess Girl’s All-in-One Deluxe Makeup Palette. The EWG report states, “The lab found that every gram of the eye shadow … tested contained more than four million asbestos fiber structures.”
The news means any child who played with the toy makeup kit was likely exposed to asbestos and could be at risk of developing the cancer known as mesothelioma.
Asbestos is the only known cause of this aggressive disease, which most frequently forms in the lining of either the lungs or abdomen. Around 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year, usually after a 20- to 50-year time window between asbestos exposure and diagnosis.
The Princess Girl’s All-in-One Deluxe Makeup product was available on the company’s website and Amazon last week. The links included in the report now go to error pages, indicating that the product is no longer available for purchase.
Why Asbestos Is in Children’s Makeup
Asbestos contaminated the IQ Toys children’s makeup because the product includes talc, which is a mineral just like asbestos. Scientific experts view talc as dangerous due to its cohabitation with asbestos in the earth’s soil.
The two minerals are found near one another in the earth’s soil, and talc mining can lead to inadvertent asbestos infiltration. Talc is turned into a powder (called talcum powder) that is a primary ingredient in many products:
- Children’s makeup
- Baby powder
- Cleaning powder
Any of these products could include asbestos, which is most dangerous when mineral fragments flake off from the primary source. This process occurs most often when asbestos is disturbed, and mixing it with talc is one manner of disturbance.
Fragmented asbestos dust in the air can enter the body either due to people inhaling or swallowing these loose asbestos fibers, which can travel into the thorax or abdomen. Once there, the sharp fibers penetrate the cellular linings in narrow cavities near the lungs or stomach.
These cavities are comprised of mesothelial cells, which can mutate into mesothelioma tumors when they’re irritated.
According to many experts and health organizations, asbestos is dangerous at any level or frequency of exposure. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration asserts that there is “no safe level of exposure for any type of asbestos fiber.”
Recent History of Talc Products and Mesothelioma
This news is not the first in the past year of asbestos detected in talc-based products.
Johnson & Johnson is under criticism due to asbestos found in its well-known baby powder product. The company faces more than 16,000 lawsuits, including one from the state of New Mexico, regarding whether Johnson & Johnson officials knew their product was tainted with the cancer-causing mineral.
In 2018, Claire’s was at the center of controversy due to asbestos found in some of its cosmetics.
In 2019, United States Representative Debbie Dingell (of Michigan) urged Congress to change regulations for children’s cosmetics. She introduced the Children’s Product Warning Label Act in March 2019.
The bill requires children’s cosmetics to include a warning label if the product hasn’t been evaluated for asbestos contamination (unless the manufacturer can prove that the product was made from an asbestos-free mine). The legislation was moved to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce but has not progressed since.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering sweeping changes to how it tests for asbestos in talc products. The FDA formed a panel in 2017 consisting of scientific experts. This panel has new testing recommendations, and the FDA will hold a public meeting on Feb. 4, 2020 to discuss the potential changes.
If you or someone you know used a talc-based product and developed mesothelioma, then we can help you. Our mesothelioma experts can explain why this cancer formed and whether you can receive life-saving treatment. Our patient advocate and registered nurse, Jenna Campagna, is available via email at email@example.com to assist patients and their loved ones.
- Alert: Tests Find High Levels of Asbestos in Children’s Makeup Kit. Environmental Working Group. Retrieved from: https://www.ewg.org/release/alert-tests-find-high-levels-asbestos-children-s-makeup-kit. Accessed: 01/23/2020.
- Asbestos. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Retrieved from: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/asbestos/. Accessed: 01/23/2020.
- NGO study finds asbestos in children’s makeup kit. Chemical Watch. Retrieved from: https://home.chemicalwatch.com/. Accessed: 01/23/2020.
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