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The worrying trend of asbestos found in children’s toys

According to research by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a popular children’s makeup set contained more than 4 million asbestos fibres when subject to laboratory testing. EWG, an American campaign body, found the hazardous material in a talc-containing eye shadow, raising concerns for parents and industry regulators alike.

Marketed by IQ Toys and once sold through reputable online stores such as Amazon and eBay, the Princess Girl’s All-in-One Deluxe Makeup Palette was scrutinised due to its heavy talc content.

Recent scandals involving talc and asbestos have engulfed several major cosmetic retailers, leading EWG to press for further clarity. Discoveries such as this present a major problem that must be addressed.

 The link between talc and asbestos

 In many ways, the problem of asbestos-contaminated talc is one of geology. Both products are naturally occurring, and they are frequently found next to each other within rocks. Cross-contamination can be difficult to mitigate during the mining process, while some companies have been historically negligent in controlling product ingredients.

In 2018, baby powder giant Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay a record $4.7 billion in damages to 22 women who filed a lawsuit claiming that asbestos in the firm’s products caused severe illnesses, including ovarian cancer. A messy legal wrangle ensued, and Johnson & Johnson issued a huge voluntary recall late in 2019 after authorities found trace levels of asbestos in its preeminent product lines.

Claire’s, another cosmetic giant, also landed in trouble when asbestos was found in a number of its products. Eye shadows, compact powders and contour palettes were particularly offensive, according to media reports, and Claire’s was forced to recall whole batches of cosmetics in 2019. Their company website even makes explicit reference to the possible presence of asbestos in products, a worrying situation.

Much like asbestos, talc is exceedingly versatile. It has been used in many industries for generations, from paper-making and plastic reinforcement to electric cable manufacturing and cosmetic composition. In its own right, talc poses no known health disadvantages, hence its popularity. Indeed, talc and baby powder have been staples of homes around the world for generations.

On the contrary, asbestos is a well-known carcinogen. When asbestos containing products are disturbed, asbestos fibres are released into the air. Inhaling these fibres can cause a string of deadly diseases, including mesothelioma and a wide range of aggressive cancers that can be difficult to treat.

Naturally, the prospect of mixing talc with asbestos, knowingly or inadvertently, has massive safety implications for everyone concerned. Nobody wants to apply asbestos to their face thinking it is makeup, and no parent wishes to smother their child in cancer-causing powder following a bath. The cosmetics industry is still reeling in the aftermath of these discoveries, but urgent action is needed to rectify major problems.

The makeup sets that contain asbestos

When EWG published its report, Amazon and eBay were quick to remove the novel items suspected of containing asbestos. However, many similar products flood the market every day, increasing the need for clear, concise and transparent regulation of cosmetic ingredients.

“It seems that, every time someone tests talc-based toys for the deadly carcinogen, they find it,” said Scott Faber, senior vice president for government affairs at EWG. “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.”

“Amazon, eBay and any other retailer marketing this and similar makeup kits from IQ Toys should take heed of these test results and immediately pull these types of products from their websites,” added Nneka Leiba, vice president for healthy living science at EWG. “Taking steps to safeguard children from exposure to one of the deadliest carcinogens in the world should always come before profits.”

Quite shockingly, many world governments, including that of the United States, does not demand safety testing of cosmetics before they are offered for public consumption. In one particularly dystopian stopgap, the US recently introduced federal legislation that requires asbestos warning labels to be placed on talc-based cosmetics. In this day and age, such a revelation is deeply concerning.

Raising awareness of asbestos in talc-based products

Sadly, the concept of asbestos in talc-based products, typically marketed towards children, is not new. In 2000, journalists discovered asbestos in talc-based crayons, while toy merchandise pertaining to the popular CSI television series also has a lengthy history of asbestos contamination.

This is a very real problem, and it has gone on for too long. The time has come for regulators to get real and push for stringent improvements throughout the supply chain, from ingredient sourcing right through to shop floor sale. In 2020, new asbestos-containing products should not be entering the marketplace. We know too much about its dangers to allow that to happen.

Here at Greenfield Removals, we are driven by a desire to rid the United Kingdom of asbestos and the devastation it causes. A proud family company based in Lancashire, we strive to enrich the communities in which we operate by raising asbestos awareness and answering any questions that people may have. We understand that asbestos is a complicated subject, and we are here to help you through any potential struggles.

If you are worried about the possible presence of asbestos in children’s toys, makeup sets and other associated items, please contact our expert team for a free consultation today. Using long-established links with trusted UKAS accredited laboratories, we can help arrange adequate testing of any product, giving you peace of mind and guiding you through any complications that may arise.

Though we operate nationally, we think on a global scale. We are experts in the science of asbestos with decades of elite experience. Accordingly, we are here to dispense advice across the world, wherever it is needed. Reach out to our friendly team today for a chat without obligations.

Together, we can stimulate interest in, and raise awareness of, asbestos-contaminated talc. And if we can help even one person overcome their concerns, our efforts will be worthwhile.

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