Despite decades of evidence that asbestos exposure can cause malignant mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other illnesses, the toxin is still being used in some unexpected and potentially dangerous ways.
CNBC is reporting that the jewelry story Claire’s has pulled several different glitter-containing makeup products from its shelves amid fears that they may contain asbestos.
WJAR-TV in Rhode Island broke the story last week after a local woman suspected there might be asbestos in her daughter’s glitter makeup kit and sent it away to an independent lab to be tested. The woman works for a law firm that specializes in asbestos class-action lawsuits.
Mesothelioma-Causing Tremolite Found
Scientific Analytical Institute reportedly confirmed that the kits – including the bedazzled rainbow heart makeup set and metallic hot pink glitter makeup – do contain traces of tremolite asbestos.
Tremolite is the primary contaminant found in vermiculite insulation, which has been linked to both pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma in the US and around the world.
The law firm for which the mother works is calling on Claire’s to own up to the contaminated products, recall them, and end its relationship with the vendors that supply them.
Claire’s told CNBC that it has hired an independent laboratory to test the products. In the meantime, it has stopped selling the makeup and is issuing refunds to customers concerned about malignant mesothelioma and other asbestos risks.
Workplace Asbestos Not the Only Mesothelioma Risk
Although mesothelioma diagnoses are most common in people who have been exposed to asbestos in an occupational setting, there have also been a number of mesothelioma cases linked to asbestos-containing consumer products over the years.
Among other things, these include home insulation and building materials, floor and ceiling tiles, contaminated talcum powder, asbestos fireplace liners, asbestos oven mitts, and even glittery asbestos-containing fake snow Christmas decor.
These products are especially dangerous when they break down into dust allowing the asbestos fibers to be accidentally inhaled. It is extremely difficult for the body to rid itself of these fibers, which work themselves into the tissues, triggering inflammation and irritation that may lead to mesothelioma.
Risky Asbestos Products and Malignant Mesothelioma
Many asbestos-containing products stayed on store shelves much longer than they should have, in part because of the lag time between asbestos exposure and malignant mesothelioma development.
It can take decades for mesothelioma symptoms to show up after a person has been exposed. Even after scientists did make the connection between diseases like pleural mesothelioma and asbestos, it took some companies decades to stop making the contaminated products.
Fifty-five countries have now banned asbestos because of the risk for malignant mesothelioma. Although it is no longer mined in the US, it can still be legally imported and sold and incorporated into certain products.
Hirsch, Lauren, “Claire’s pulls makeup popular with girls amid asbestos allegations”, December 28, 2017, CNBC.com