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Asbestos Contaminated Talc In Children’s Makeup Products

It’s not just your makeup products you need to be concerned about, but your child’s too!

A study in 2004 showed most 7-10 year olds used makeup. With social media pressurising standards of flawlessness on children, along with the advertisement of brightly coloured glittery eye shadow pallets, blushes and lipsticks, the age in which children are starting to wear makeup appears to be getting younger and younger.

What is asbestos and what is the concern?

Asbestos comprises of naturally occurring minerals with microscopic fibres. During the 1950s to 1980s in particular, asbestos was used extensively in many buildings, typically for insulation purposes as it is resistant to heat and corrosion.

If products or areas containing asbestos are disturbed, asbestos fibres are released into the air and then can be easily inhaled or ingested and entrapped in the lungs. Over decades, trapped asbestos fibres can cause inflammation, scarring, respiratory problems and illnesses such as lung cancer and mesothelioma in some people. Not everyone who has been exposed to asbestos dust will develop an asbestos related disease but for those who do, it can be life changing.

Asbestos in children’s makeup

So what’s the problem with children’s makeup? While the use and importation of asbestos contaminated products has been banned in the UK since 1999, worryingly asbestos fibres are still found in some cosmetics available to purchase today.

Many children’s powder-based products such as eye shadow pallets and blushes are made out of cheaper materials such as talc and so carry the risk of also carrying asbestos fibres within them.

Wrongly, production companies are not required to warn consumers of this potential asbestos contamination in their products. They list on the ingredients that the product contains talc but there is no mention that the talc could be contaminated with asbestos fibres.

What’s the evidence?

In 2019 the Food and Drug Administration confirmed the presence of asbestos in three make-up products made for and sold by Claire’s Accessories, a US chain and UK high street fixture, beloved of young girls, in particular. Several products were quickly withdrawn from sale. However, this retailer has not announced plans to stop using talc or stop selling talc-based cosmetics.

Most recently, in January 2023, the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit research organisation, tested a Playkidz Makeup Palette containing talc. “The lab found that every gram of the eye shadow in the Princess Girl’s All-in-One Deluxe Makeup Palette tested contained more than 4 million asbestos fibre structures.” This product is still available in the UK and can be purchased online.

Why is this important?

Powdered makeup products pose an inhalation risk and therefore potential exposure to asbestos fibres through the talc within them. Exposure to asbestos fibres is known to cause a fatal disease called mesothelioma in some people. Although there are no immediate side effects and mesothelioma often takes decades to develop, people exposed to asbestos fibres as children risk developing the disease when they are in their prime of life. Mesothelioma is often considered to be an “old man’s disease” and yet we are helping male and female clients who are younger and younger – in their 20s, 30s and 40s – due to their exposure to asbestos fibres from a young age.

What do we think?

Zara Yasin, Paralegal at Hodge Jones and Allen says, “Asbestos contaminated talcum powder has been a persistent issue for decades and one that it unlikely to be resolved soon.

It is alarming that the use of asbestos contaminated talc could be present in makeup products on our UK shelves today and that those products are marketed to people of all ages, including young children.

While not all children’s makeup products contain asbestos fibres, it is impossible to know which do by a visual inspection. Any level of asbestos exposure is unsafe for health. This is something consumers should be aware of so they can make informed choices about the makeup they are using themselves or buying for their children.”

What you can do

  • Avoid children’s makeup products which contain talcum powder;
  • Use talc free products and brands – there are many available in the UK.

We help those who have been exposed to asbestos dust through any source and who have developed an asbestos related disease as a result.

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other asbestos disease, our expert Asbestos & Mesothelioma Compensation solicitors can help. Contact us on 0330 822 3451 for free, confidential advice on compensation.

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