Makeup Products Made for Children Contain Asbestos

Asbestos in Children's Makeup

Playing with toy makeup can expose children to dangerous carcinogens like asbestos, according to tests conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit organization dedicated to exposing the use of health-threatening chemicals in the environment.

Asbestos Found in Talc-Based Children’s Makeup 

“It seems every time someone tests talc-based toys for the deadly carcinogen [asbestos], they find it,” said Scott Faber, the EWG’s Senior Vice President for Government Affairs. “Before parents buy a makeup kit or any toy made with talc, they should seriously consider that it could very well be contaminated with asbestos.”

A report published in January 2023 by scientists at Earthjustice and Columbia University noted that almost 80% of parents surveyed said their children aged 12 and under play with makeup products like glitter and lip gloss that are packaged as toys.

A summary of the report stated: “Research shows these products have toxic chemicals, like lead, asbestos, PFAS, phthalates, and formaldehyde in them. Toxic chemicals found in children’s makeup and body products (CMBP), like heavy metals, are especially harmful to infants and children.”

What Is Asbestos and How Does It Get into Makeup?

Asbestos is the commercial term for fibrous varieties of certain naturally occurring silicate minerals. It has been mined since the late 1800s to be used in various industrial applications, including fireproofing and sound absorption.

Because asbestos and talc are often found together in nature, it is possible that talc can be contaminated with asbestos when used commercially. Talc is a common ingredient in beauty products and baby powder, so these items can contain asbestos fibers if not carefully tested.

When disturbed, the tiny fibers of asbestos fly into the air. They can be inhaled into the lungs, where they lodge and eventually cause deadly health conditions, such as mesothelioma and lung cancer. These diseases can take many years and even decades to develop.

“If children are exposed when young, there is even more time for asbestos-related illness to develop later in life,” the EWG said.

What Is Being Done to Reduce Children’s Exposure to Asbestos?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned all new uses of asbestos in 1989, but any uses in place before then are still allowed.

In 2000, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission determined that the risk of children being exposed to asbestos fibers in crayons was minimal. Nonetheless, U.S. manufacturers agreed to remove talc as an ingredient.

Unfortunately, asbestos and other harmful chemicals keep appearing in products made for children. For example, in January 2023, the EWG tested a toy makeup kit 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 fiber structures.”

“It is alarming that industry is being allowed to sell makeup and body products marketed to children that contain extremely toxic chemicals,” said Earthjustice attorney Lakendra Barajas. “Unfortunately, currently, little is being done at the federal level to protect children from toxic chemicals in children’s makeup and body products.”

What You Can Do to Avoid Asbestos Exposure in Children’s Makeup Products

If you allow your children to use makeup products, the EWG recommends ways to minimize their exposure to asbestos and other chemicals that can damage their health.

  • Avoid toy makeup kits, which are frequently made of cheap materials that can contain asbestos and other harmful chemicals.
  • Avoid powders that contain talc. These are easily inhaled and can damage the lungs. Instead, choose cream-based blushers and eye shadow.
  • Avoid products with “fragrance” as an ingredient. This term hides hundreds of chemicals that can impair a child’s health. Instead, choose fragrance-free products or that list specific fragrance ingredients on the label.
  • Choose lipsticks carefully. Ingredients to avoid are lead, which can impair brain development at low doses, nickel, cobalt, and chromium. Choose beeswax-based lip balm.

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Seek justice with the help of our experienced asbestos attorneys. Our asbestos law firm has represented individuals like you affected by asbestos exposure for over 20 years, aggressively fighting the corporate giants responsible for their dangerous products. If you or a loved one were exposed to asbestos or suffered from a disease caused by asbestos, like mesothelioma, we can help.

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