According to a news article posted on eurekalert.org, talc-based cosmetics products were tested for asbestos. The laboratory tests found the carcinogen asbestos in about 15 percent of cosmetic samples, including foundation, eye shadow, blush, body powders, and other facial products.
The findings were published in the Journal of Environmental Health Insights. The results show that the current methods for detecting asbestos during the manufacturing process are outdated and ineffective. The report states that many well-known cosmetic brands that contain talc can be inhaled. The article also states that they have identified over 2,000 consumer products that contain talc, and more than 1,000 of those products pose an inhalation risk. Most Americans using talc products are unaware that they might be using a talc-based potentially contaminated with asbestos.
According to the eurekalert.org article, cosmetics manufacturers have known about possible asbestos contamination in talc-based cosmetics since the 1950s. Twenty years later, the public was alerted to the problem. However, the cosmetics industry successfully persuaded the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to allow the manufacturers to self-regulate their own products.
Johnson & Johnson recently declared that the company would stop selling its talc-based baby powder in North America. The decision came as a result of 1,000s of lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson alleging their talc-products caused cancer.
According to Tasha Stoiber, Ph.D., “Inhaling even the tiniest amount of asbestos in talc can cause mesothelioma and other deadly diseases, many years after exposure. It only takes one asbestos fiber, lodged in the lungs, to cause mesothelioma decades later.”
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Asbestos is a known carcinogen and has been linked to diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, and ovarian cancer. Exposure to asbestos for just a few days can lead to mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is an incurable cancer that forms many years after exposure to asbestos. Studies cited in the article state that 60 percent of mesothelioma cases in women are connected with non-occupational exposure to asbestos. The article also estimates that as many as 15,000 Americans die annually from asbestos-linked diseases.
The federal government recognizes that there is no “safe level” of exposure to asbestos fibers. However, the federal government does not mandate that cosmetics be tested for asbestos and other safety concerns prior to being marketed. The article alleges that the FDA only “encourages” companies to choose talc mines that are careful to avoid asbestos contamination during the mining process. Also, the FDA does not have the authority to govern talc-related products.
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