When it comes to the cancer-causing asbestos, many people think of the removal of asbestos-based products in building renovations. Little do some parents know, they bought toy makeup kits for their children that contain asbestos.

At this time, the Princess Girl’s All-in-One Deluxe Makeup Palette by IQ Toys has been removed from Amazon and the toy maker’s website, but the Environmental Working Group (EWG) cautions that the products may still be in some stores. The EWG said in a January 2020 report that it tested the makeup kits and found more than four million asbestos fiber structures per gram from the samples it took of a talc-based eye shadow in the makeup kits.

The EWG urges parents and caregivers to avoid purchasing toys that include talc as an ingredient. When children in their care become exposed to asbestos, it can increase their chances of developing mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is cancer that affects the lining of the lungs and chest wall. The only known cause of the disease is asbestos exposure. 

Also, in February 2020, another eye makeup, sold by the brand MUA, was allegedly shown to contain asbestos in recent tests, according to the Daily Mail. The findings are shown in a BBC Three documentary, Beauty Laid Bare.

In a statement provided to the Daily Mail, MUA denied the allegations and stated that it commissioned testing of its products that showed no asbestos contamination in its products.

In 2018, Claire’s Accessories and Johnson & Johnson were also alleged to have products tested to contain asbestos. In response, Claires immediately moved to sell talc-free makeup, according to HuffPost, while Johnson & Johnson has denied the allegations regarding its products.

The dangers of exposure to cancer-causing asbestos

Every year, approximately 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure. The disease is typically found between 20 to 50 years after contact with asbestos, according to the Mesothelioma Center. Asbestos in talc is known to cause cancer in almost every type of exposure. Another common diagnosis is ovarian cancer from talcum powder, which some women applied to their bodies.

Talc is a mineral that is often found in the Earth in the same areas as asbestos, and contamination resulting from the two is common. In addition to being found in this children’s makeup kit, talcum powder is in other makeup products, cleaning products, baby powder, and foot powder.

Asbestos, while included in talc products, has been known to flake off, then become inhaled, or it enters the body in another manner. Once these flakes of asbestos enter the body, they can become lodged into cellular wall linings and sit there for decades, eventually causing growth around the area to become cancerous. 

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there is no “safe” level of asbestos exposure for any type of asbestos fiber. OSHA says asbestos exposures as short in duration as a few days have caused mesothelioma in humans. This indicates that even limited exposure in children can lead to a lifetime cancer risk.

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