Asbestos contaminates products used to manufacture makeup. Manufacturers can use asbestos fibers in talc, a powder added to some makeup brands to bind makeup particles together. Claire’s, a nation-wide retailer that markets cosmetics to children and teens, as well as to young adults, recalled nine of their cosmetics in December 2017 for asbestos contamination.

The FDA tests for mercury, lead and other chemicals in the cosmetics production industry, but it does not test for asbestos. Today, in spite of the known dangers of asbestos-contaminated talc, there is currently no United States regulatory agency responsible for asbestos-testing for talc used in any makeup manufactured and sold in this country or imported from foreign countries. 

Why is asbestos dangerous?

Asbestos contains small fibers that become embedded in any product they contact. Unprotected industrial workers are the largest group of people affected; without protective breathing equipment and skin coverage, they contact asbestos when working on older structures. 

What is mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a lung cancer caused by exposure to asbestos fibers. Although there have been rare cases of one-time exposure causing mesothelioma, most cases develop over a long period of repeated exposure. Mesothelioma cancer often does not appear until up to 50 years after the exposure period.

Can asbestos cause skin cancer?

Yes, over a long period of time, frequent asbestos contact with skin, such as that found in face powder, rouge or eyeshadow, can increase the chance that skin cancer will develop. Asbestos fibers damage body tissues by disrupting DNA.

Is asbestos still in children’s makeup?

Claire’s stated in 2017 that asbestos contaminated some of their products. In January 2018, Claire’s negated its original findings, claiming that its internal testing revealed no asbestos in any of its products. An independent laboratory was skeptical. It decided to test Claire’s makeup products. The laboratory found in March 2018, certain makeup from Claire’s still contains asbestos fibers. Parents may want to check for recalls and updates on all their children’s makeup products. No one should sell asbestos-laced makeup to children.