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ASBESTOS

What is it?

“Asbestos is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals, which all have in common their eponymous asbestiform habit: i.e. long (roughly 1:20 aspect ratio), thin fibrous crystals, with each visible fiber composed of millions of microscopic “fibrils” that can be released by abrasion and other processes.” Wikipedia

What are the effects?

This substance belongs to the groups:

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) identifies asbestos as “may cause cancer and causes damage to organs through prolonged or repeated exposure.”

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a project of Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (previously the Breast Cancer Fund) have registered that asbestos might contaminate cosmetic talc.

“Inhalation of asbestos fibres can cause cancers such as mesothelioma and lung cancer, and other serious lung diseases such as asbestosis and pleural thickening.” Reports the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) from Great Britain. They continue, “Annual deaths in Britain increased steeply over the last 50 years, a consequence of mainly occupational asbestos exposures that occurred because of the widespread industrial use of asbestos during 1950-1980. The latest information shows: There were 2,542 mesothelioma deaths in Great Britain in 2015, a similar number to the previous three years. The latest projections suggest that there will continue to be around 2,500 deaths per year for the rest of this current decade before annual numbers begin to decline.”

Possible contamination

The following substances may contain impurities from asbestos:

How is it used?

Asbestos is not a commonly used ingredient in cosmetic* and household products. If it is found in cosmetics, it would normally not be in the list of ingredients, it would be found after a scientific analysis of the product in a laboratory. Sometimes traces of asbestiform fiber, a type of asbestos, can be found in products such makeup for kids and tweens.

Contrary to popular belief, in most parts of the world there is no ban on asbestos. Some countries, including the European Union, have imposed some restrictions on the use of the substance.

We use the European Commissions definition of Cosmetics:
“Cosmetics range from everyday hygiene products such as soap, shampoo, deodorant, and toothpaste to luxury beauty items including perfumes and makeup”.

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