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Asbestos in contaminated makeup a health concern, say mesothelioma campaigners

Updated: Jul 2

Campaigners are urging makeup lovers to make simple checks to ensure the products they buy are not contaminated with asbestos.

They are concerned about the long-term impact of exposure to asbestos in cosmetics, saying there could be serious health risks. The warning comes at a time when beauty is a global business, with consumers buying products not just from the high street but from all over the world. Currently, product regulations and standards differ significantly from country to country.

Powder makeup products containing talc

Based at The Mesothelioma Center in the US, a spokesperson for, said: “The lack of proper laws about cosmetic-grade talc, or talcum powder, is the source of asbestos in makeup. 

Talc and asbestos in makeup

“Talc and asbestos naturally occur together in the environment. When talc is mined for cosmetic purposes, it can become contaminated with asbestos.”

The spokesperson claimed powder compacts, eyeshadows, blushes, foundations, and other talc-based makeup items can be a danger to health if they contain asbestos - even though the link between asbestos in makeup and disease is yet to be proven.

Campaigners are worried that long-term exposure to asbestos through talcum powder could lead to signs of mesothelioma and ovarian cancer. 

“Due to the current lack of regulation, there remains a risk, even though diseases linked to asbestos-contaminated cosmetics have not yet been proven,” the spokesperson added.

“The items with the highest risk are loose powder products, such as compact foundation, finishing powder and baby powder.”, America’s most trusted mesothelioma resource, says each makeup item should be evaluated by experts to ensure it is safe.

A yellow post-it note with the words Helpful Tips

Here are some tips from to help you avoid makeup products that may contain asbestos:

1. Be brand aware: Purchase from reputable brands with a solid safety record. Avoid buying from unreliable sources or unknown vendors.

2. Verify ingredients: Always check the ingredients list carefully. Avoid products containing talc, talcum, talcum powder, magnesium silicate, and cosmetic talc, as these may contain asbestos.

3. Choose talc-free products: Opt for makeup brands that do not include talc. However, do not assume that products labeled as ‘asbestos-free’, ‘organic’, or ‘natural’ are completely free of asbestos. Staying vigilant is essential.

What is mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the outer surface of organs in the body. It starts in the lining.

There is more than one type, but the most common symptoms include fluid build-up, fatigue, pain, swelling and weight loss. 

Further reading:

News updates on asbestos in beauty and self-care products:

Additional resourse, kindly supplied by The Lanier Law Firm: Asbestos Exposure


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