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FDA, European agencies investigating makeup for asbestos

The recent revelation that some talc-based makeup sold at Claire’s contained asbestos sparked concern and outrage among consumers. In March, the Food and Drug Administration began a general investigation into makeup products sold in the U.S. Now, the Netherlands are similarly starting an investigation into consumer products sold in Europe.

Cosmetics do not have to get approval from the FDA before going to market, although cosmetic companies are required to provide safe products and properly label their products.

Could be a widespread problem

Tremolite asbestos was found in several products found at Claire’s, as well as other makeup products sold throughout the U.S. Tremolite asbestos is found naturally in talc, which forms the basis for a number of makeup products.

This is a known issue, and talc mines are supposed to be chosen carefully and steps taken to purify it of asbestos.

Because talc is mined all over the world, and used in a variety of products, the failure to take proper precaution against asbestos contamination could have significant consequences in the U.S., and around the world.

Products containing talc

Talc is used in a number of consumer products such as blush. It is used to make cosmetic products opaque or absorb moisture.

There have been periodic concerns about the presence of asbestos in talc over the years. Most recently, Johnson & Johnson had to pay $117 million to the estate of a New Jersey man who developed mesothelioma from asbestos in baby powder.

While the results of the investigation may not be known for some time, it is certainly an important issue to watch moving forward.

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