For centuries, men and women have been relying on makeup and skin care to help them look better and to fight off the signs of aging. While we’ve come a long way from lead-based lipstick and arsenic facial scrubs, we might not have come far enough. The truth is that the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate the makeup industry all that much. Just like with the supplement industry, there is very little federal oversight. In fact, the FDA has very little authority to even force a cosmetic recall when dangerous substances are found to have contaminated cosmetics.
Yahoo Finance reports that makeup may be tainted with asbestos.
Earlier this year, the FDA confirmed that asbestos, a contaminant linked to cancer, has been found in eye shadow, foundation, and makeup that was marketed to pre-teen girls. Even the cosmetic industry is pushing for more oversight in the wake of the discovery.
FDA regulations forbid “poisonous” and “filthy, putrid, or decomposed” substances in cosmetics, the agency remains in the dark about the actual ingredients in cosmetics. Surprisingly, the factories that produce cosmetics aren’t required to report ingredients, the location of the factory, or even that there is a factory at all.
With the exception of color additives, the FDA conducts no tests on cosmetics before they go on sale. Further, there is no requirement that the manufacturers do their own testing. It might not have been discovered that asbestos was in makeup had a Rhode Island mother not sent her daughter’s glitter makeup kit to a lab.
Once the FDA learned of the asbestos tainting, it had no authority to force a recall. It could only request that the retailer voluntarily recall the items. One store, Claire’s, found in malls across America, “refused to comply” with the request. In a name-and-shame moment, the retailer eventually did pull the product from shelves. However, it wasn’t the first product to be pulled from the retailer’s shelves for asbestos contamination.
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