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Asbestos in Makeup

Asbestos is a group of minerals that are frequently found close together with talc, another naturally occurring mineral. Talc has been used in makeup and personal care products for several decades and is still an important ingredient in a number of cosmetics today. Unfortunately, makeup products that contain talc may be contaminated with asbestos – putting consumers at risk of dangerous asbestos exposure.

Asbestos has been linked to serious illnesses and cancers, including mesothelioma. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another disease associated with exposure to asbestos, you may be eligible for financial compensation from a makeup manufacturing company. The asbestos attorneys at Bailey & Glasser, LLP can help you determine if you have a case and protect your rights during the legal process.

Why Choose Bailey & Glasser, LLP?

  • Our Asbestos and Lung Disease team represents clients who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and other illnesses by exposure to asbestos in makeup and personal care products.
  • We are highly experienced asbestos attorneys who can handle the most challenging legal issues, both regionally and nationwide. Our attorneys have handled over 3000 cases and recovered over $2 billion in settlements and verdicts for asbestos-related cases.
  • We offer free initial case consultations and believe in frequent client communication. You will never be left in the dark about the status of your mesothelioma or asbestos case.

When to Contact an Asbestos or Mesothelioma Attorney

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a medical condition connected to exposure to asbestos, including mesothelioma, you most likely have questions. You may wonder where you were exposed to asbestos, what your legal rights are now as a victim, and who is financially responsible for your medical bills and other losses. An asbestos attorney can help you answer all of these questions, as well as understand your legal options for seeking justice and holding someone accountable – including a makeup brand.

An attorney will have knowledge of your state’s asbestos laws and understand the nuances of filing a mesothelioma claim. You can rest while your attorney handles legal matters for you, including identifying the defendant(s), filing a claim, and negotiating with insurance companies. A law firm will have connections to experts, such as asbestos mesothelioma specialists, who can testify during your claim. A lawyer will take the legal burden from your shoulders during this difficult time while pursuing the best possible results for your asbestos case.

What Is Asbestos?

Asbestos refers to a group of six silicate minerals that are often found in close proximity to naturally occurring talc. Talc is a clay mineral that is made up of oxygen, hydrogen, magnesium, and silicon. Asbestos is a known carcinogen, meaning it can cause cancer in humans (source: the National Cancer Institute). Being exposed to asbestos, even briefly, could lead to a wide range of health problems – including an aggressive form of cancer called mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a cancer of the mesothelium, which is the thin protective layer of tissue that surrounds most organs in the body. If asbestos gets inhaled or ingested, it can become lodged in the mesothelium or other areas of the body. Once there, the asbestos fibers and particles can cause irritation, inflammation, and scarring. According to the National Library of Medicine, when cells are exposed to asbestos, it can result in DNA damage and the creation of cancer cells.

The National Cancer Institute states that there is no safe level of asbestos exposure. It is possible to develop mesothelioma and other illnesses from just one exposure incident. However, the odds of experiencing asbestos-related health problems correspond with the amount of exposure. This means mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other illnesses are more likely to occur in people who are frequently exposed to asbestos. One example is the use of makeup that is contaminated with asbestos.

What Is the History of Asbestos Use in Makeup?

Makeup brands and cosmetic manufacturing companies do not intentionally insert asbestos into their products. They use talc as an ingredient, and it is the talc that may be contaminated with asbestos and put consumers at risk of exposure. Asbestos contamination can occur naturally in deposits where both minerals exist in close proximity to each other. Talc in powder form absorbs moisture and adds a silky, soft texture to cosmetic products.

Talc is often used in makeup products such as:

  • Blushes
  • Body powders
  • Bronzers
  • Compact powders
  • Contour palettes
  • Eye shadow palettes
  • Face powders
  • Finishing kits
  • Highlighters
  • Makeup palettes
  • Powder foundations
  • Setting powders
  • Shimmer powders

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), literature has suggested potential contamination of talc with asbestos since the 1970s. An FDA investigation of asbestos in makeup products in 2019 found that samples of cosmetic products tested positive for asbestos and advised consumers to stop using certain cosmetic products that contained talc. Other personal care items that have tested positive for asbestos include deodorants, baby powders, feminine hygiene products, and soaps.

Research Linking Asbestos to Makeup Products

Asbestos in makeup was brought to the attention of the public in 2017 when the Scientific Analytical Institute lab in Greensboro, North Carolina found that 12 makeup products pulled from store shelves tested positive for asbestos. The manufacturer of the 12 products was Claire’s – a national retailer with products marketed toward young girls. The FDA advised consumers not to use three Claire’s brand cosmetics (eye shadows, compact powder, and contour palettes).

In a 2022 news release, the FDA stated that it did not detect asbestos in any of the most recent 50 cosmetic product samples it tested. However, it continues to warn consumers against cosmetic products with talc listed as an ingredient due to potential asbestos contamination. This includes talcum powder products such as baby powders, which could potentially be linked to ovarian cancer.

The FDA has ongoing research regarding asbestos and talcum powder, especially concerning the brand Johnson & Johnson. After testing positive for asbestos in 2019, Johnson & Johnson voluntarily recalled one lot of its baby powder. Another organization called the Environmental Working Group (EWG) also found the presence of asbestos in makeup products it tested. In their research, EWG found that 3 out of 21 personal care products tested were contaminated with amphibole asbestos – one of which was marketed for use by children.

What Are the Side Effects of Asbestos in Makeup?

Asbestos exposure has been connected to many serious cancers and diseases. If an individual is exposed to asbestos through contaminated makeup products, microscopic asbestos particles may get stuck in the inner linings of his or her body. Over time, this can lead to the development of mesothelioma or other cancers, including lung cancer and ovarian cancer. Asbestos is also linked to chronic illnesses such as asbestosis. This is a lung disease caused by inhaling asbestos that can cause extensive damage to the lung tissue.

There are no immediate side effects of being exposed to asbestos in makeup, as the latency period for asbestos-related diseases is an average of 20-60+ years. Latency period means the amount of time between the date of asbestos exposure and the development of cancer or disease. The long latency period means that victims often do not realize they were exposed to asbestos until many years later.

When the symptoms of an asbestos-related disease do appear, they may include:

  • Dry or persistent cough
  • Respiratory problems
  • Trouble breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing or rattling noises in the chest
  • Pain or tightness in the chest
  • Lumps under the skin of the chest
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Clubbed toes or fingers

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for cancers and other illnesses caused by asbestos exposure. Treatments are available for some patients to help alleviate their symptoms and improve quality of life. However, asbestos cannot be removed from the lungs or body once they are there, and the conditions that are diagnosed are chronic (lifelong). For mesothelioma patients, the average life expectancy is 12 to 21 months with treatment.

Is Asbestos Still Used in Makeup Today?

Asbestos contamination in makeup products is an ongoing health and safety concern for consumers. Despite the known health risks associated with asbestos, cosmetic manufacturers have been slow to transition to talc alternatives and improve their systems for filtering asbestos out of talc. Makeup, cosmetics, and personal care products that contain talc, talcum powder, or magnesium silicate may still be contaminated with asbestos today.

Many lawsuits against makeup manufacturers for asbestos contamination in their products have alleged that these companies knew about the potential of asbestos-contaminated talc and failed to warn the public about the related dangers. As of 2023, the only companies that have chosen to remove talc from some (not all) of their products are Chanel, Revlon, and L’Oreal. No other makeup brands have addressed removing talc from their products or cosmetics.

Asbestos Makeup Manufacturers and Distributors

Claire’s is far from the only makeup manufacturer under fire for releasing makeup products contaminated with asbestos. Many other manufacturers since the 1970s have faced backlash for the potential presence of asbestos in their makeup, including the following brands and products:

  • Avon: Bird of Paradise, Skin So Soft, and Unforgettable powders
  • Beauty Plus Global Inc.: Contour Effects Palette 2, City Color Collection
  • BeautyGlazed: Gorgeous Me Eye Shadow Tray Palette
  • Chanel: Chanel No. 5 After Bath Body Powder, loose face powders
  • Claire’s: JoJo Siwa Makeup Set, Mint Glitter Makeup Set, and other children’s makeup products
  • Jmkcoz: 120 Colors Eyeshadow Palette
  • Justice: Just Shine Shimmer Powder and other Just Shine products
  • Revlon: Jean Nate Silkening Body Powder

Lawsuits have already been brought against these makeup manufacturers by multiple plaintiffs for asbestos exposure connected to their products. Consumers are not the only ones potentially affected by asbestos in makeup, however; workers in makeup manufacturing facilities may have been exposed to harmful levels of asbestos by the company, as well.

How to Avoid Asbestos in Makeup

Asbestos is not visible to the naked eye. Consumers cannot tell the difference between makeup that is contaminated with asbestos and makeup that is not. To complicate the issue, the FDA does not regulate cosmetic-grade talc. There is a marked lack of regulations concerning talc in cosmetics. To prevent asbestos exposure, consumers should use brands that do not use talc or are committed to using talc alternatives, such as cornstarch, rice starch, kaolin clay, and baking soda. Products that are talc-based, such as talcum powder products, should also be avoided.

Your Legal Rights as a Victim of Makeup-Related Asbestos Exposure

Being diagnosed with mesothelioma or another illness connected to asbestos may make you eligible for financial compensation from the manufacturer of the product that exposed you to this dangerous substance. While it is impossible to place a dollar amount on the suffering experienced by victims of asbestos exposure, filing a lawsuit against product manufacturers who exposed consumers to asbestos can provide some measure of justice and financial relief.

If you were exposed to asbestos in makeup or another personal care product, you may be able to seek financial compensation through the following sources:

  • Individual lawsuit – a personal injury or wrongful death claim lawsuit can be filed if a cosmetics manufacturer or distributor was negligent, meaning it fell short of the accepted standard of care and harmed consumers.
  • Product liability claim – if there is evidence that a makeup product contained a defect and that this caused your illness, you may have grounds for a strict product liability lawsuit. This type of claim does not require you to show proof of negligence.
  • Asbestos trust fund claim – if the makeup manufacturer has declared bankruptcy, you may still be eligible for an asbestos trust fund claim. These are funds set up by companies to compensate consumers exposed to asbestos through their products.

It may also be possible to file a workers’ compensation claim if you were exposed to asbestos as someone who worked at a makeup manufacturing facility or distribution center. Workers’ compensation is an insurance system that exists in all 50 states. It does not require an employee to prove an employer was negligent to qualify for benefits. An asbestos attorney can help you explore all of your potential legal options.

Request a Free Consultation at Bailey & Glasser, LLP

Asbestos contamination in makeup may cause mesothelioma, ovarian cancer, lung cancer, and other serious diseases. If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related condition, contact Bailey & Glasser, LLP. Our team of attorneys has decades of experience in this practice area. We can connect you to vital mesothelioma resources and help you with every step of the litigation process. Learn more about taking legal action for asbestos-contaminated makeup during a free case consultation. Call (866) 871-7971 or contact us online today.