WASHINGTON, May 19, 2020 – EWG today welcomed the news that Johnson & Johnson will soon end the sale of talc-based baby powders in the U.S. and Canada, and called on other cosmetic companies to end the use of talc in other loose powders.
“It’s good news that Johnson & Johnson will soon end the sale of talc-based baby powders in the U.S. and Canada,” said Scott Faber, EWG’s senior vice president for government affairs. “Now other companies need to follow their lead.”
Geologically, talc and asbestos can be formed from the same parent rock. In many regions, talc deposits are contaminated with asbestos fibers. Even small amounts of asbestos in talc can cause mesothelioma and other deadly diseases, many years after exposure.
Asbestos is one of the most dangerous substances on Earth. From federal mortality data, EWG Action Fund, EWG’s 501(c)(4) sister organization, estimated that up to 15,000 Americans die each year from asbestos-triggered diseases.
The federal government says there is no safe level of asbestos exposure for any type of asbestos fiber. Asbestos exposures as short in duration as a few days have caused mesothelioma in humans.
“It’s no secret that talc can be contaminated with asbestos,” Faber said. “Companies have known about the risk of asbestos-contaminated talc since the 1950s.”
Just last week, asbestos was found in two talc-containing eye shadow palettes, according to laboratory tests commissioned by EWG.
The lab found asbestos – up to nearly 3.9 million asbestos fiber structures per gram of eyeshadow – in the Jmkcoz 120 Colors Eyeshadow Palette makeup kit sold on Amazon. Of the 45 shades tested from the kit, 40 percent contained asbestos.
Asbestos was found in a second Jmkcoz eyeshadow kit, Beauty Glazed Gorgeous Me Eye Shadow Tray Palette, sold on the company’s website and on Amazon and eBay, at levels up to 3.5 million asbestos fiber structures per gram of eyeshadow. Of the 25 shades tested from the kit, 20 percent contained the deadly fiber.
The troubling news about the presence of asbestos in this toy makeup kit is just the latest example of the deadly fiber contaminating imported products marketed to children.
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- In October, Johnson & Johnson issued a voluntary recall of its baby powder after the Food and Drug Administration found trace levels of asbestos in samples of the popular product.
- In March 2019, the FDA issued a rare alert, urging consumers to stop using certain cosmetics products from the national retailer Claire’s, after the agency found the deadly carcinogen asbestos in at least three different talc-based products.
- FDA issued a similar safety alert in September after the agency found asbestos in at least four different talc-based products marketed by Beauty Plus.
- In 2015, EWG Action Fund found asbestos fibers in several brands of children’s crayons and toy crime scene investigation kits.
- In 2007, tests commissioned by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization also found the lethal fiber in a toy fingerprint named after the television show “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.”
- In 2000, an investigation by journalists from the Seattle Post Intelligencer discovered asbestos in imported crayons made with talc.
For more information, view Faber’s testimony before the House Oversight Committee.