Proposed Legislation Calls for Ban on Asbestos in Children’s Makeup

Illustration of legal cases for asbestos and mesothelioma

Following the news of asbestos found in makeup products from Claire’s and Justice retailers, two popular children’s and tweens’ brands, Michigan Congresswoman Debbie Dingell is seeking new legislation to prevent future asbestos exposure.

The proposed legislation, called the Children’s Product Warning Label Act of 2018, would mandate that all cosmetic products marketed toward children must be free of asbestos or contain a warning label. Under the proposed act, manufacturers could only avoid putting a warning label on their products if they could attest in writing the source used for their products was asbestos-free. Further, manufacturers would have to follow U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines and have the product tested via transmission electron microscopy to prove it is free of asbestos.

“Parents across the country should have the peace of mind in knowing that the cosmetics they buy for their children are safe,” Dingell said. “Yet we were all stunned when the retailer Claire’s pulled 17 products from their shelves after asbestos was found in cosmetics marketed to children, including glitter and eyeshadow. No child should be exposed to asbestos through the use of common, everyday products.”

Dingell further added the FDA’s authority over cosmetics and personal care products in general needs to be overhauled to better protect the public. Asbestos in children’s makeup, though tragic, has just been one of many examples even within the last few years of products potentially exposing the public to the toxin.

Asbestos-contaminated talcum powder, for instance, has been at the forefront of thousands of lawsuits lately for consumers facing ovarian cancer and mesothelioma from its use. Asbestos contamination has also been an issue in a number of other consumer products, including products targeted at children like crayons and other toys. Under current legislation, manufacturers are not required to disclose where talc used in their products has been mined.

Dingell’s proposed bill could be a step in the right direction to start better protecting consumers. With improved awareness around asbestos and other ingredients that may pose a health risk, consumers can be more proactive in their own health and feel safe with their purchases.

“We need to pass comprehensive legislation to create a user fee program for cosmetics and give the FDA the authority to review the most dangerous ingredients so they can keep people safe,” Dingell insisted. “But if Congress is unwilling to consider this approach, we should start taking common sense steps to protect our children by passing my legislation to ensure consumers have all the facts about the products they purchase. Congress must make this a priority in 2018.”