Asbestos refers to a group of 6 natural and fibrous materials that are made out of extremely thin fibers. It is a material that can be very useful for strengthening other materials and for fire-proofing. Asbestos is not as far from us as you think it is – it can be found in daily makeup products that children and young women use. However, due to the adverse effects it can have on our health, asbestos is banned in many countries. Do take note that asbestos is currently not banned in the United States, so do be aware and careful about asbestos exposure. Here at Iris Environmental Laboratories, we provide the most professional asbestos inspection services in the country for extremely affordable prices.
Why is Asbestos Found in Makeup?
The most common reason why asbestos ends up in makeup is due to poor regulations involving cosmetic-grade talc, also known as talcum powder. Asbestos and talc are minerals that form together, which means talc mined for commercial uses can be contaminated with asbestos which is a known cause of mesothelioma and lung cancer.
When talc is added to makeup, it results in a soft, silky texture, and it dilutes pigmented products and acts as a filler. Talc is commonly found in powder compacts, finishing powders, eye shadows, blushes, foundations and creams. Talc is famously known for its ability to absorb moisture and reduce the appearance of oily skin. For example, talc-based face powders are commonly used on top of cream foundations to “set” the foundation so that it stays in place and looks naturally dry instead of oily and shiny.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it is important to select talc mining sites carefully and take steps to purify talc to prevent asbestos contamination in cosmetic products. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done.
Asbestos in Children’s Makeup
In December 2017, a lab confirmed it found asbestos in makeup products sold by Claire’s, an accessory and jewelry retailer that is popular among young women and girls. Five months later, the same lab identified asbestos in Just Shine Shimmer Powder sold by Justice, a retailer that sells clothing, accessories and cosmetics to girls and teens.
How to Avoid Asbestos in Makeup
Simply looking for “all natural” or organic cosmetics isn’t enough to avoid asbestos-contaminated talc. That’s because talc is an all-natural substance. There’s no surefire way to know if the talc in a product is truly asbestos-free without extensive testing of the individual product. You have got to look at the product label to see if it contains talc and avoid it if it does.
Talc might be labelled under several different terms, including Talcum, Talcum powder Cosmetic talc, and Magnesium silicate.
It’s probably wise to avoid talc in general because some scientific research indicates that it may increase the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer in women and lung cancer among miners. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises against the use of baby powder, which is predominately made of talc, because infants can easily breathe in the powder.
Parents can protect their children from asbestos in makeup by buying only cosmetics free of talc. Unfortunately, because the government isn’t doing enough to regulate asbestos, it is up to consumers to protect themselves and their children from this risk.