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Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Asbestos And Makeup: Everything You Need To Know

You might think of asbestos as a threat that stems entirely from old buildings. It’s something that you need to worry about when you’re renovating a house – but not when you’re thinking about cosmetics.

Unfortunately, this isn’t quite the case. Asbestos, and all of its adverse health consequences, can be found in makeup, too. Let’s take a closer look.


Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

How does asbestos end up in makeup?

One of the principal ingredients in many makeups is a kind of special clay called talc. This is a kind of fibrous material that’s the principal ingredient in talcum powder, and a range of other products. Since asbestos and talc are often mined together, they often find their way into commercial products.

Since the effects of asbestos were discovered, regulators have insisted that manufacturers remove the substance from talc-based products. And yet, asbestos is still to be found in small amounts, even in talc that has been declared asbestos-free.

Some of the biggest brands in modern cosmetics have been found to produce products that contain unsafe levels of asbestos. To illustrate this, we need to look no further than the case of Johnson & Johnson, which was made to pay out $9 billion after it was determined that its talc-based products were a cause of mesothelioma and other forms of cancer. The company has since changed its famous recipe to make use of cornstarch rather than talc.

Of course, it isn’t just baby powder that contains this substance. A whole range of powder-based cosmetics are reliant on talc. Some of these are produced by smaller manufacturers who don’t have the same reputation to fall back on as Johnson & Johnson. If you’re concerned about the risk, it pays to know what you’re applying to your body.

How safe is talc?

You might understandably suppose that it’s impossible to entirely remove every trace of asbestos from any product that contains talc. While we can’t make any guarantees, we can say there is, as yet, no proven link between talc usage and cancer. While Johnson & Johnson eventually lost its lawsuit, it has successfully defended itself on previous occasions.

If you suspect that you have been exposed to asbestos as a result of your use of talc, then you might get yourself checked out. When mesothelioma is detected early, the treatment against it can be that much more effective. You might also seek to take legal action, especially if you can demonstrate that harm has resulted from your use of talc-based products.

For those who don’t want to take the risk, seeking out talc-free alternatives might be advisable. It seems likely that the market will be forced in this direction – either by the strength of feeling amongst consumers or by regulators.

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