Dangerous cosmetics: talc-based products are positive for asbestos

Talc-based cosmetics recognized as hazardous to health

The scientists conducted laboratory studies of cosmetics based on talc. It turned out that beauty products with such a component give a positive result for asbestos. It is recognized as a fatal carcinogen for humans. During the study, the experts identified it in almost 15% of the samples. They also stated that the methods used in the cosmetics industry to check the composition of the components of finished products were found to be inadequate.

According to researcher Nnek Leib, many well-known brands use talcum powder in their body and face powders. In the database, the scientists identified over two thousand personal care products containing talc.


They include loose or compressed powder and are hazardous if inhaled. The scientists are amazed at the number of people who use cosmetic products based on talcum powder contaminated with asbestos. And that fact did not become a discovery: the danger of asbestos has been known since the 50s of the last century.

The public was warned about this in the 70s. However, the cosmetics industry proved more convincing in reassuring it that it can be trusted to regulate its own products. And companies were allowed to rely on their own findings.

However, the lack of external control led to dire consequences. In the spring, Johnson-Johnson announced that it would discontinue the production and sale of talc-based baby powders. A number of protests in Canada and the United States have contributed to this.


Thousands of people filed lawsuits against the company, claiming that its products provoke cancer. EWG Senior Scientist Tasha Stoiber said inhaling even minimal amounts of asbestos in talcum powder causes mesothelioma and some other fatal diseases several years after exposure.

Studies showed that about 60% of cases of mesothelioma in women can be associated with the effects of asbestos on the body. Talc is often used to improve the texture of cosmetic products, to absorb moisture, and as an inexpensive filler.

Reference: “Asbestos Contamination in Talc-Based Cosmetics: An Invisible Cancer Risk” by Tasha Stoiber, Sean Fitzgerald and Nneka S Leiba, 24 November 2020, Environmental Health Insights. DOI: 10.1177%2F1178630220976558