Asbestos was Found in 20 Percent of Tested Cosmetics.

Asbestos was Found in 20 Percent of Tested Cosmetics.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently found that 20 percent of tested cosmetic products   contained asbestos. AMA Analytical Services was given the task to test the different products, which were provided by the FDA.  The FDA bought the different products from stores and gave them to AMA Analytical Services as blind samples, which were then tested for asbestos. When testing, AMA Analytical Services found that 20 percent of the cosmetic products that it tested contained asbestos. While this is telling, it was not a random sample, so it cannot represent the cosmetic industry as a whole.

In addition to products being tested on the suspicion of asbestos, products were chosen based on type, price, and popularity. Once asbestos was detected in any products, the FDA sent out alerts letting people know what products contained the carcinogen.

To test the cosmetics, Polarized Light Microscopy and Transmission Electron Microscopy are both used to detect asbestos particles. Polarized Light Microscopy points light at a sample, which then allows the tester to determine the shape and makeup of the mineral. Transmission Electron Microscopy points a beam of electrons at the sample, which then interacts with the atoms of the sample, creating an image that can be analyzed. Of the two, Transmission Electron Microscopy is the more sensitive test, so it is the better option.

The FDA will continue to test for talc in products throughout 2020 by testing 50 blind samples. The results will be available for people in 2021, but if asbestos is found in samples before then it will alert people and make sure the products are removed from stores.

 Asbestos is obviously a dangerous material, so any testing to detect it before reaching store shelves is very beneficial. Talc can very easily be contaminated with the substance, which is problematic because talc is used in different cosmetics and powders sold to people as health products. People then expose themselves and others to asbestos, whose lives are then endangered.

Alex Formuzis, “FDA Tests Find Asbestos in Nearly 20 Percent of Cosmetics Products” Environmental Working Group (March 9, 2020). [Link]

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