Several months ago, one brand of children’s makeup was pulled from store shelves across across the country due to asbestos being found in the products. According to a recent news article from Quartz, lab tests revealed asbestos in another brand of makeup products designed for use by children.
The recent issue came to light when a mother who purchased some of the cosmetics for her daughter and became concerned they may have contained asbestos. While there did not appear to be any obvious signs of asbestos in the makeup, it was very similar to other makeup involved in a previous asbestos case. This particular customer had been working with a materials testing laboratory as part of her occupation and decided to have this makeup tested just based upon an alleged hunch.When the results of her testing revealed the presence of deadly asbestos fibers, she immediately contacted the company and the store from which she purchased the makeup. The store started voluntarily pulling makeup from the shelves. The company that manufactures and marketed the makeup alleged to contain asbestos said they will do their own testing to confirm whether it has asbestos and find out how the alleged contamination may have occurred.
As our Boston mesothelioma attorneys can explain, when there complaints in the summer of 2017, involving the Just Shine Shimmer Powder, another children’s makeup made with glitter, the company later performed their own tests and said that they found no evidence of asbestos and have called the previous claims inaccurate. It is hard to know if this new claim by the manufacturers have been accurate as companies have a long history of trying to coverup the existence of asbestos in their products.
This is true even when companies were knowingly producing products make primarily of asbestos and asbestos materials. They did this because the general public was not fully aware of the dangers of asbestos even when some of those dangers were being reported. The public also had no idea that other minerals that form in the same geological conditions as asbestos can also contain deadly asbestos fibers. This can include talc and vermiculite.
Some companies even sold vermiculite when the knew or had reason to know it contained asbestos and said they were selling an safe asbestos-free alternative to asbestos. This is not to say that vermiculite is dangerous, as it is sold for a variety of uses including use as a potting medium for orchids and other fragile plants, but that material must be tested for the presence of asbestos fibers before being sold. The test is not that complicated or even expenses as all they have to do is look for the deadly asbestos fibers under a microscope.
As for talc, it is legally sold for use in makeup and as a powder, mainly used by women, but there is evidence that it suggests talc may cause ovarian cancer, and other types of serious medical conditions. Regardless of these potential concerns, it is heavily used in makeup and that may be the source of any alleged contamination.
One news organization that test both the makeup products from the previous recall and makeup from this newer discovery reported the director of the materials testing lab found asbestos in some of the Justice samples, and not in others so that might explain the discrepancy. As for the new samples from this recent discovery, the same lab director said they found asbestos in every sample that was tested and these samples were purchased in stores across the country. He did say some of them contained less than others as he had to spend more time looking under the microscope, but there is no such thing as a safe level of asbestos as there is with other types of hazardous materials as noted by the U.S. Department of Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA).
One of the issues when dealing with a discovery of asbestos exposure is that there is no way to know if that exposure will lead to malignant mesothelioma, but on the other hand, if there is a later diagnosis with malignant mesothelioma there will be no question that it came from exposure to asbestos. This is because malignant mesothelioma is a deadly form of cancer that is very rare, and virtually always caused by exposure to deadly asbestos fibers to a medical certainty.
Doctors do not have any non-invasive way to determine if the patient has asbestos fibers trapped in the pleura or layer of tissue known as the mesothelium. If the doctors were able to discover the fibers without the use of a destructive lung biopsy, there is no effective to way to remove them. If the fibers are trapped inside a patient, they can metastasize into malignant mesothelioma tumors, but that typically takes between 20 and 50 years. This is how companies in the past were able to get away with poisoning so many people for so many decades and why we are still seeing thousands of new mesothelioma diagnoses so many years after asbestos use was largely stopped.
Another reason people get exposed to deadly asbestos fibers if from living in old building that were made with numerous mesothelioma-laden materials. These materials were deadly to the workers when they were building the dwellings but were largely safe to the residents once the materials were in place. However, one the materials break down over time, they can once again become what is known as friable asbestos. Asbestos become friable when it crumbling and giving off dust, but when that dust is inhaled or ingested, that is people become sick. There is a also a serious risk when demolition work or extensive rehabilitation is being done and the contractor in charge of the work does not take the proper and legally required steps to perform a safe and permitted asbestos abatement.
This requires a professional asbestos inspections and permits being filed with the department of health in Boston.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
Lab tests found carcinogenic asbestos in makeup for children, December 28, 2017, By Marc Bain, Quartz
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Montana Settles Asbestos Claims for $25M, Feb. 19, 2017, Boston Mesothelioma Lawyer Blog