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New Bill Introduced to Keep Asbestos Out of Children’s Makeup

Over the past year, there have been allegations of asbestos fibers being present in two different cosmetic products designed for use by children.  Both of these products contained talc, which is common in makeup and also a glitter substance that is supposed to sparkle.  In both instances, an independent materials testing laboratory confirmed the presence of deadly asbestos fibers in some quantity of the children’s products, but the retail chain in which the products were sold across the nation said their own respective testing found no evidence of contamination.

Mesothelioma LawyersRegardless of whether these particular products contained asbestos fibers, there is certainly a chance of asbestos being present in any products that contain talc, unless proper testing methods are used during production to determine if asbestos is actually present. To make matters worse, while producing an asbestos-containing children’s makeup and not warning customers would be an example of negligence, there is no law preventing the manufacturing of such products.

But a new piece of legislation is aimed at closing this loophole.

New Bill Introduced to Protect Children from Makeup Products That Could Contain Deadly Asbestos Fibers

According to a recent news article form Environmental Work Group, a news bill was introduced by a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, which would require warnings on any cosmetics products being marketed to children if those products could contain asbestos. This proposed law would also require these companies to prove, through records of adequate testing, that their products do not contain  asbestos if they are not going to place this warning on children’s makeup products.

Modern Asbestos Testing Methods in Boston Mesothelioma Cases

As our Boston mesothelioma lawyers can explain, if there is any asbestos present in cosmetics products, these fibers will be detectable under microscopic analysis. But it may take looking harder than some of these companies are willing to look.  To put this in perspective, in the two instances where asbestos fibers were found in children’s cosmetic items, many samples of products purchased across the country were used in the testing process.  The materials testing lab first examined samples sent by the customer and concluded there was asbestos present. The lab then tested the other items to confirm the presence of asbestos in those samples as well.  In these two cases, the lab said they were able to confirm asbestos in all of the other samples, but they needed to spend more time examining the material to find lesser quantities of asbestos.

There is No Safe Level of Asbestos According to OSHA

While it is important to note both companies continue to deny the presence of asbestos in their respective products, they have pulled the products from store shelves, as there is no safe level of asbestos according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  Once asbestos fibers are either inhaled or ingested, they can become trapped in a layer of tissue that protects internal organs from foreign bodies. However, the asbestos fibers are so sharp they can cut through this layer and become lodged.  The body is unable to expel the fibers, and there is no way to remove them from a patient in a manner which does not require removing the tissue in which they are embedded. They are also generally undetectable unless a surgical biopsy is performed and this is not a common procedure for patients who are asymptomatic.

If these fibers remain in the body, they can cause malignant mesothelioma tumors to develop.  This can, and often does, take decades. But by the time a patient shows any symptoms, tumors will typically be too advanced to cure, and patients will not have very long to live.  At this point, the patient or his or her family will typically file a mesothelioma lawsuit in either the Suffolk Superior Court in Boston or a federal court. Where a case will be filed is a complex question and the best thing a plaintiff can do is to speak with an experienced asbestos exposure lawyer during a free initial consultation.

Asbestos is Sometimes Present in Products Containing Talc

As noted in the article, talc can contain asbestos because they are both formed in the same geological conditions and are formed from what is known as the same parent rock. This means there is a likeliness talc will contain asbestos as well.  There are current methods under the law that require testing for asbestos, but these methods were developed over 40 years ago and technology such as microscopes, and scientific methods in general have advanced a great deal since original testing standards were put in place. This new bill will update those standards and require the best available methods be used to make sure there is no asbestos present in these cosmetics products. Only after this testing and a report thereof can such products not include a warning they might contain asbestos, as well as the dangers of asbestos to anyone who uses these products.

This particular bill will only apply to products specifically marketed to children, and not adults, but it is important to understand asbestos is just as dangerous to adults as it is to children.  This is different from other toxic materials, which will only generally harm children and the elderly.  While there is often resistance to any bills which can cost companies more money, especially in our current political climate, the drafter and sponsor of this particular bill are confident it will pass with little resistance from any other member of Congress. This law will be very useful in preventing future victims from being harmed, but if a company was negligent or reckless in performing testing on products marketed to children, such lack of care could still be a basis for filing a lawsuit.  There is no requirement that a federal law be violated in order to have a valid claim.

If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.

Additional Resources:

EWG Applauds Bill to Warn of Asbestos in Cosmetics, February 7, 2018, By Alex Formuzis, Environmental Work Group

More Blog Entries:
Montana Settles Asbestos Claims for $25M, Feb. 19, 2017, Boston Mesothelioma Lawyer Blog