An eyeshadow by make-up brand MUA has been found to contain asbestos.
Testing conducted for the new BBC Three series Beauty Laid Bare found traces of the lethal chemical in the company’s Silent Disco palette, which was discontinued last year.
During the programme, four twenty-somethings with different attitudes towards cosmetics spend two weeks in America investigating the secrets of the multi-billion dollar beauty industry.
The tests were conducted by Sean Fitzgerald, director of research and legal services at the Scientific Analytical Institute (SAI) – a private laboratory based in the US and an expert in asbestos contamination based in North Carolina.
In a statement to Mailonline, MUA said they refuted the allegations and that other tests they had commissioned had found no trace of asbestos.
In a programme airing tonight on BBC 3, Sean Fitzgerald, pictured, the director of research and legal services at the Scientific Analytical Institute (SAI) – conducted test on several talc-based beauty product to determine whether they contained traces of asbestos
Testing conducted for the new BBC Three series Beauty Laid Bare found traces of the lethal chemical in MUA’s Silent Disco palette, which was discontinued last year
Contributor Queenie (pictured), who had selected the palette to be tested could not believe it contained traces of asbestos
Contributors from the programme, including Queenie, provided Sean with talc-based products that they used for testing, in order to check whether there were any signs of asbestos contamination.
The products were ordered directly from the store’s website before being sent on to SAI to ensure there was no chance of contamination in transit.
After testing, Sean discovered asbestos in three wells contained in the ‘Silent Disco’ eye shadow palette.
Sean explained that cosmetic companies generally rely on their talc suppliers to certify that their talc and talc mine is asbestos free.
Chloe, from Belfast (pictured), cannot believe that asbestos is present in the product the contributors presented to Sean
A graphic shows the particles of asbestos found on the palette. Many beauty products use talc as a base, from eye-shadows to powder and foundations
There is currently no regulation in the US or EU that requires the final, talc-based product to be certified asbestos free, other than relying on the certification from the talc supplier.
‘None of them are being tested, we have no gatekeeper,’ said Sean.
Queenie, who admitted she was on the fence about using makeup even before the experiment, said she now felt more encouraged to ‘disengage’ with these products.
‘I think it’s deplorable that the method they’re using is still too insensitive,’ Sean added.
Geologically, asbestos and talc can form naturally alongside each other. In recent years, there have been substantiated claims that some talc-based products manufactured by companies including Claire’s Accessories and Johnson & Johnson have been contaminated by asbestos.
Claire’s switched to talc-free manufacturing in 2018, and Johnson & Johnson says its products are safe to use and do not contain asbestos.
Pictured from left to right, contributors Chloe, Queenie, Resh and Casey are floored by the test results
During Beauty Laid Bare, four twenty-somethings with different attitudes towards cosmetics spend two weeks in America investigating the secrets of the multi-billion dollar beauty industry. Pictured: Chloe, a make-up artist and influencer from Belfast
Asbestos is a potential carcinogen, and some experts believe asbestos-contaminated talc is capable of causing cancers of the lung, mesothelium and ovaries.
According to the World Health Organisation, there is no ‘safe’ lower threshold for asbestos in products; however the risk to health from low quantities is not clear.
On February 4, 2020, the US Food and Drug Administration will hold a public meeting on testing methods for asbestos in talc and cosmetic products containing talc.
A spokesperson for MUA told Mailonline: ‘The product mentioned in the programme was discontinued months ago and we strongly refute the allegations.
‘We commissioned new independent testing of this exact batch of product from the world’s leading authority in cosmetics testing, which conclusively show no signs of contamination.
‘We understand customers may be concerned about talc which is why we’ve already reformulated our range which is now 99 percent talc-free and will be 100 percent free of talc by May 2020.
The documentary also lifts the lid on how the ‘ethical’ beauty product candelilla wax is produced in some countries, as Resham Khan (pictured) travels to a farm in Mexico
Acid attack survivor Resham Khan, from Manchester, was left horrified after visiting a farm in Mexico which produces an ‘ethical’ beauty product ingredient where workers handle dangerous chemicals without any protection
The plant-based ingredient, used in many cosmetics including lip balm, is often marketed as a vegan and an ethical alternative to beeswax
‘MUA will join a growing number of brands who have made this commitment.
The documentary also lifts the lid on how the ‘ethical’ beauty product candelilla wax is produced in some countries.
The plant-based ingredient, used in many cosmetics including lip balm, is often marketed as a vegan and ethical alternative to beeswax.
In episode two, acid attack survivor Resham Khan, from Manchester, is left horrified after visiting a farm in Mexico where workers handle dangerous chemicals without any protection.
She suffered devastating face and neck injuries after she and her cousin Jameel Muhktar were doused with corrosive liquid on her 21st birthday in June 2017 in Beckton, east London.
Resham is shocked to hear the farmers who cut down the plant – an arduous and time-consuming task – are paid just $15 for producing three bunches of crop.
They’re then appalled to see the minimum wage workers producing the wax by handling sulphuric acid with no safety equipment, in a dirty, uncontrolled environment.
Beauty Laid Bare is available on BBC Three from Sunday 2 February.