On January 16, 2020,
Environmental Working Group released news of extremely high amounts of asbestos found in the eye shadow
of a widely-sold children’s makeup kit. The “Princess Girl’s
All-in-One Deluxe Makeup Palette” manufactured by IQ Toys was available
for purchase on Amazon, Ebay, and many other retailers.
EWG’s press release states that the lab conducting the test found
more than 4 million asbestos fiber structures per gram of the eye shadow.
This is just the latest discovery of asbestos contamination in imported
products marketed to children.
“It seems every time someone tests talc-based toys for the deadly
carcinogen, they find it,” said EWG’s Senior Vice President
for Government Affairs Scott Faber, who recently
testified before a congressional oversight committee investigating the presence
of asbestos in talc-based consumer products. “Before parents buy
a makeup kit or any toy made with talc, they should seriously consider
that it could very well be contaminated with asbestos.”
Since the early 1950s, efforts by Congress to modernize regulation of the
cosmetics industry have been defeated by the industry’s powerful
lobby. Since 2015, however, support has grown for giving the FDA authority
and resources to regulate chemicals and contaminants in cosmetics.
On January 14, 2020, two days prior to EWG’s release, the California
State Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic passed the
Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act,
AB 495, to ban 13 toxic chemicals from beauty and personal care products consumers
use daily, including asbestos contaminated talc.
"We are talking about baby powder and powder makeup containing asbestos,”
said Democratic Assembly Member Al Muratsuchi of Torrance, CA, who introduced the bill.
California law on cosmetic safety currently mirrors federal law. “Californians
should be protected from unsafe products. A law to do that was passed
in 1996 but never implemented,” Susan Little, senior advocate for
California government affairs for EWG, said in a statement. “AB
495 would update this law to make sure that cosmetics manufacturers can
no longer use some of the most toxic chemicals as ingredients in personal
care products sold in California.”
The dangers lurking in personal care products are hardly limited to talc.
- Lipsticks can contain lead.
- Nail polishes can contain cancer causing phthalates, formaldehyde and toluene.
Products containing “fragrance” can be hiding hundreds of chemicals, including common allergens and endocrine
- Facial creams can contain mercury.
- Hair straightener creams can contain formaldehyde.
More than 40 other nations including the European Union have restricted
the use of thousands of cosmetic ingredients. It’s time for Congress
to pass meaningful legislation to protect American consumers and their families.