The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) performed tests to uncover just how often asbestos contaminates cosmetic items.
The results are startling — and a cause for serious concern among American consumers.
According to the results, which were published last week, 12 out of 52 items tested contained asbestos fibers. That accounts for around 23% of the items tested.
Asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer that forms near vital organs. In recent years, more cases have emerged involving Americans using cosmetics and developing mesothelioma.
The FDA is already overhauling how it tests for asbestos in cosmetics and similar items. This new study shows just how likely it is for asbestos fibers to contaminate these products.
If you have mesothelioma and once used any talc-based cosmetics or other health products, we can help. You can file a legal claim and get compensation for your cancer diagnosis. Our patient advocate, Jenna Campagna, can aid you in finding a lawyer to represent your case. Please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FDA Reveals Prevalence of Asbestos in Cosmetics
The FDA identified each item as having tremolite asbestos or chrysotile asbestos. It also listed percentages for how much of each item included asbestos. The highest was 15%, and most items were made up of less than 1% of asbestos.
Here’s what is known: Asbestos is the only proven cause of mesothelioma. It’s a dangerous substance, one that’s invisible to the naked eye and can infiltrate many commercial products that Americans use daily.
What wasn’t known — until the FDA’s tests — is just how often asbestos contaminates cosmetic items.
The FDA tested 142 samples, which came from 52 different items:
- There were 21 samples with detectable asbestos, which accounts for around 15% of all samples.
- Sixteen of the samples included tremolite asbestos.
- Fifteen samples included chrysotile.
- Ten samples included both.
- Tremolite asbestos and chrysotile asbestos were each detected in eight of the items.
- Four of them had both types of asbestos.
Tremolite asbestos has sharp fibers that can aggravate cells and cause cancer. It’s used in paint, insulation, roofing materials and plumbing materials.
Chrysotile asbestos is the most common form used in commercial products. For decades, it has been an ingredient in brake pads, cement, automobile clutches, gaskets, plastics, roofing materials, rubber and textiles.
Due to its widespread use, chrysotile asbestos is the most likely type of asbestos to cause mesothelioma.
‘Growing Concern’ Over Asbestos in Cosmetics
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) published an article about the test results. The report stated there is “concern over the presence of asbestos in cosmetics, particularly those marketed toward children and that include talc as an ingredient.”
Earlier in 2020, the EWG reported that asbestos was detected in a children’s toy makeup kit. Laboratory tests revealed fibers in the kit’s eye shadow. The item is Princess Girl’s All-in-One Deluxe Makeup Palette, which is manufactured by IQ Toys.
Children’s makeup isn’t the only talc-based product connected to asbestos. Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder is at the forefront of the asbestos controversy. The company faces thousands of lawsuits from people who claim their use of the Baby Powder led to their mesothelioma.
How Asbestos Contaminates Talc-Based Cosmetics
Cosmetics contamination occurs due to the relationship between asbestos and talc. Asbestos is a naturally forming mineral in the earth’s soil. Talc is also a naturally forming mineral, and the two exist close to one another.
Talc is ground into a powder, which is used in cosmetic and self-cleaning products. Talcum powder can improve skin care, among other benefits. Talcum powder is a prominent ingredient in:
- Face powder
- Eye shadow
Before it’s turned into a powder, talc can mix with asbestos to the substances’ neighbor relationship in the ground. This blending is how loose asbestos fibers remain in the powder form and put consumers in danger.
Asbestos is only dangerous when it’s separated from its source. It easily flakes off and weightlessly floats in the air. Since asbestos is nearly impossible to detect with the naked eye, many people breathe in or swallow the fibers without knowing.
These fibers then travel through the body and into the lining of either the lung cavity or abdominal cavity. As the body attempts to expel these fibers, they sometimes lodge into the cells within these linings. Irritating these cells causes cellular mutation, which is how mesothelioma forms.
Show Sources & Author
- CFSAN FOIA Electronic Reading Room. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved from:
https://www.fda.gov/about-fda/center-food-safety-and-applied-nutrition-cfsan/cfsan-foia-electronic-reading-room. Accessed: 03/10/2020.
- FDA Tests Find Asbestos in Nearly 20 Percent of Cosmetics Products. Environmental Working Group. Retrieved from: https://www.ewg.org/release/fda-tests-find-asbestos-nearly-20-percent-cosmetics-products. Accessed: 03/10/2020.
- Types of Asbestos That Can Cause Asbestos Diseases. Abramson Cancer Center. Retrieved from:
https://www.pennmedicine.org/cancer/types-of-cancer/mesothelioma/asbestos-cancer/types-of-asbestos. Accessed: 03/10/2020.