25,000 Americans are calling for federal regulators to require cosmetic companies to test for asbestos in personal care products–and share the results. 

Yesterday, the National Women’s Health Network, the Environmental Working Group, the American Association for Juice and Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity submitted more than 25,000 signatures to the FDA. The petition demands that the FDA require more precise testing of cosmetics and personal care products for asbestos. 

Presently, the FDA does not require cosmetic companies to test products for asbestos. Products made with talc are of utmost concern. Asbestos is commonly found in mined talc because both can form from the same parent rock. The result is talc contaminated with asbestos. So that bronzer you love or that eye shadow your daughter begs you to try on can have detrimental effects.  

The EWG found more than 2,000 personal care products and cosmetics that contain talc, including 1,000+ pressed or loose powders that can be inhaled. Makeup marketed to young girls and teens and sold at retailers like Claire’s and Justice contain the notorious carcinogen. 

EWG Legislative Director Colin O’Neil says that “EWG and others have repeatedly found asbestos in products made with talc, including cosmetics marketed to children… It’s outrageous that a precise method for testing personal care products for the presence of asbestos exists, but the cosmetics industry isn’t required to use it.” 

But it’s not just makeup. Johnson & Johnson faces over 18,000 lawsuits against their baby powder which two ingredients are talc and fragrance. This week a Florida jury ordered the company to pay $9 million to a woman who blamed asbestos laced talc for her mesothelioma cancer. 

The Plaintiffs’ lawyers claim that there are internal J&J documents that prove executives knew since the late 60’s that the talc mined by the company contained asbestos but failed to notify regulators or consumers. 

  1. “Consumers Demand Mandatory Testing of Cosmetics for Asbestos.” EWG, 2020, https://www.ewg.org/release/consumers-demand-mandatory-testing-cosmetics-asbestos.
  2. Feeley, Jef, and Bloomberg. “J&J Ordered by Florida Jury to Pay $9 Million in Talc-Cancer Case.” Business Standard, Business-Standar, 28 Feb. 2020, https://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/j-j-ordered-by-florida-jury-to-pay-9-million-in-talc-cancer-case-120022900043_1.html. 
  3. Kennedy, Merrit. “FDA Says It Found Asbestos In Makeup At Claire’s.” NPR, NPR, 6 Mar. 2019, www.npr.org/2019/03/06/700830418/fda-says-it-found-asbestos-in-childrens-makeup-at-claire-s.
  4. Weyant, Curtis. “Asbestos & Heavy Metals in Justice Makeup.” ConsumerSafety.org, ConsumerSafety.org, 12 Aug. 2020, www.consumersafety.org/news/justice-stores-makeup-contains-asbestos-and-heavy-metals/.

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