Makeup is a treasured product for many women. It can be used to hide flaws, accentuate features or as a creative outlet. Those who use it shouldn’t have to be worried about grave health risks. Sadly, cosmetic products aren’t always as safe as they appear to be.

In early September, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about Beauty Plus products, including a blush, bronzers and a color palette, that had tested positive for asbestos. Using any of the contaminated makeup could lead to exposure.

What is Asbestos?

If you’re unfamiliar with asbestos, you may be wondering why a product containing it is so dangerous. It is a naturally occurring mineral consisting of long, fiber-like crystals. These fibers are so thin that they can become airborne when disturbed. Asbestos can then enter the lungs if inhaled. It can also penetrate the skin if touched without proper protection.

Health Risks of Asbestos

Asbestos can cause many different cancers, the most common of which are lung cancer and mesothelioma. Lung cancer affects the tissue of the lungs themselves, but mesothelioma can develop on the membrane which exists on various organs. Both types of cancer have high fatality rates, which is what makes asbestos exposure so dangerous.

Cancer is not the only risk. Other conditions, such as asbestosis and asbestos warts, are also a danger of exposure. These potential harms are the reason the U.S. government has set strict regulations on asbestos use.

Watch for Recalls

Unfortunately, the beauty products mentioned above are not the only cosmetics that tested positive for asbestos this year. Multiple items from Claire’s stores also had trace amounts of the mineral. Carefully following FDA recommendations could help you to avoid exposure.