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Asbestos and Makeup: How to Avoid Exposure

Legally Reviewed by Joseph P. Williams on August 10, 2023

There is no amount of asbestos that is safe for human exposure. Even a minuscule amount in one of your makeup or personal grooming products could potentially lead to asbestos-related diseases and health problems, including asbestosis and mesothelioma. The best way to protect yourself from this possibility is to learn as much as you can about asbestos in makeup, as well as a few top tips for diminishing this risk.

The Dangers of Asbestos

When tiny particles of asbestos are ingested or inhaled, they can remain lodged within the body’s tissues for decades. In this time, the particles can rub and cause irritation that eventually results in scar tissue and cancerous tumors. There is currently no known cure for mesothelioma, which is the most common type of cancer associated with asbestos exposure. Unfortunately, thousands of consumer products around the world may contain traces of asbestos, as this mineral neighbors talc in mines.

Could Your Makeup Contain Asbestos?

In recent years, studies have found traces of asbestos in multiple makeup and cosmetic products. The U.S. PIRG Education Fund, for example, uncovered asbestos in multiple cosmetics sold at Claire’s in 2018. In 2019, Johnson & Johnson voluntarily recalled its baby powder products after samples tested positive for asbestos. Then, in 2021, U.S. PIRG announced that nearly 15 percent of talc-based makeup products sampled in a study contained asbestos.

Unfortunately, these are just a few examples of many researchers discovering asbestos in makeup. Some of the most common asbestos-containing cosmetic products are:

  • Compact powder
  • Contour palettes
  • Shadow and highlight kits
  • Eye shadow
  • Blush
  • Bronzer
  • Talcum powder (baby powder)

Most makeup and cosmetic products that contain asbestos come in powder form. This is because cosmetic companies do not intentionally include asbestos in their products; asbestos accidentally ends up in powder-based products due to contaminated talc that is used as an ingredient. Some of the specific makeup brands that have been known to contain asbestos are Beauty Plus Global Inc., Claire’s, IQ Toys, Jmkcoz, Justice, and Johnson & Johnson.

Tips for Avoiding Asbestos in Your Makeup

The first step to keeping yourself safe from asbestos exposure from your makeup is learning as much as you can about this problem and the brands involved. Avoid any makeup brands or manufacturing companies with a history of selling asbestos-contaminated products. Search for product recalls before you buy. Be especially careful when choosing talc- or powder-based makeup products.

Read the ingredients on your makeup when choosing a new product. Avoid products with ingredients such as talc, talcum, talcum powder, cosmetic talc and magnesium silicate. Choose to purchase makeup from brands that are transparent with their ingredients and committed to avoiding asbestos and other contaminants. Some brands that don’t use any talc in their products are Honest Beauty, Everyday Minerals, Shea Moisture, Pacifica, Ecco Bella and Juice Beauty.

If you believe you own any makeup, cosmetic or personal hygiene products that contain talc or asbestos, safely dispose of them or hire a professional asbestos remover. Wear a respirator with a HEPA filter, if you have one. A normal face mask does not protect you from the inhalation of asbestos fibers. Wear clothes that you can throw away, as asbestos particles can become lodged in the material and put you at risk. Place all of the makeup items in sealable bags and throw them away immediately.

What to Do if You’ve Been Harmed by Asbestos Exposure

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness, contact a mesothelioma attorney right away. An attorney can carefully evaluate your case to let you know if you have grounds for a lawsuit against a product manufacturer, such as a cosmetic company. If so, the company may be financially responsible for your related losses, including ongoing medical care or the wrongful death of a family member. Contact The Williams Law Firm, P.C. today for a free consultation with an asbestos attorney in New York attorney.

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