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Mica

Mica

Mica is a naturally occurring mineral dust often used in makeup foundations, as filler in cement and asphalt, and as insulation material in electric cables.

Mica is a naturally occurring mineral dust often used in makeup foundations, as filler in cement and asphalt, and as insulation material in electric cables. Workers in cosmetic manufacturing factories are at high risk of mica exposure through inhalation.[1]

What is Mica?

Mica minerals are often used as color additives in cosmetics.[2] They also have reflective properties, allowing for a shimmery effect in mineral foundations.[3] Long term inhalation of mica poses a health risk to workers, specifically those working in muscovite (the most common form of mica) mills and other occupations such as agriculture and construction work.[4]

Found In

  • Makeup products
  • Shingles
  • Wallpaper
  • Insulation
  • Cement and asphalt

What to look for on the label

  • Mica
  • Muscovite

Health Concerns

Irritation: Several occupational exposure case studies document workers from muscovite/mica mills, construction sites and rubber factories developing respiratory problems after being exposed to mica over the course of several years.[5][6][7][8][9] Long-term inhalation of mica dust may cause lung scarring which leads to symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, weakness, and weight loss.[10]

Vulnerable Populations

Regulations

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has set recommended exposure limits and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has set permissible exposure for an average workday.[11]

How to Avoid?

Proper industrial hygiene practices should be followed, such as appropriate.[12] Mica use in cosmetics is not a concern for consumers.

FAQs

Mica or mica powder is a naturally occurring mineral dust often used in makeup foundations, as filler in cement and asphalt, and as insulation material in electric cables.

Mica or mica powder is often used as color additives in cosmetics. It also has reflective properties, allowing for a shimmery effect in mineral foundations.

Long term inhalation of mica poses a health risk to workers, specifically those working in muscovite (the most common form of mica) mills and other occupations such as agriculture and construction work. Mica use in cosmetics is not a concern for consumers. Proper industrial hygiene practices should be followed in manufacturing of mica-containing cosmetics such as appropriate ventilation and personal protective equipment for workers.

While mica used as colors in cosmetics are safe for consumers, the long-term inhalation of mica poses a health risk to workers, specifically those working in muscovite (the most common form of mica) mills and other occupations such as agriculture and construction work.

Yes, mica or mica powder is a naturally occurring mineral dust often used in makeup foundations, as filler in cement and asphalt, and as insulation material in electric cables.

Mica is not harmful to the skin. While inhalation is a health concern for mica, dermal exposure (i.e., skin exposure) does not cause harm.

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References

[1] Skulberg KR, Gylseth B, Skaug V, and Hanoa R. “Mica pneumoconiosis – a literature review.” Scand J Work Environ Health. 1985 Apr;11(2):65-74. Print.

[2] Cosmetics Info. Mica. Available online: http://www.cosmeticsinfo.org/ingredient/mica. Accessed April 25, 2022.

[3] Live Strong. Are There Any Harmful Ingredients in Mineral Foundation. Available online: http://www.livestrong.com/article/153073-harmful-ingredients-in-mineral-foundation/. Accessed April 25, 2022.

[4] CDC. Occupational Health Guideline for Mica. Available online: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/81-123/pdfs/0431.pdf. Accessed April 25, 2022.

[5] Hulo S, Cherot-kornobis N, Edme JL, de Broucker V, Falgayrac G, Penel G, Legrand-Cattan K, Remy J, and Sobaszek A. “Mica dust and pneumoconiosis: example of a pure occupational exposure in a muscovite milling unit.” J Occup Environ Med. 2013 Dec;55(12):1469-74. Print.

[6] Rangelov K and Sethi S. “The first described case of occupational anthracofibrosis in the USA.” Case Rep Pulmonol. 2014;2014:460594. Print.

[7] Landas SK and Schwartz DA. “Mica-associated pulmonary interstitial fibrosis.” Am Rev Respir Dis. 1991 Sep;144(3 Pt 1):718-21. Print.

[8] Zinman C, Richards GA, Murray J, Phillips JI, Rees DJ, and Glyn-Thomas R. “Mica dust as a cause of severe pneumoconiosis.” Am J Ind Med. 2002 Feb;41(2):139-44. Print.

[9] Venter E, Nyantumbu B, Solomon A, and Rees D. “Radiologic abnormalities in South African mica millers: a survery of a mica milling plant in the Limpopo Province.” Int J Occup Environ Health. 2004 Jul-Sep;10(3):278-83. Print.

[10] CDC. Occupational Health Guideline for Mica. Available online: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/81-123/pdfs/0431.pdf. Accessed April 25, 2022.

[11] U.S. National Library of Medicine. MICA. Available online: https://chem.nlm.nih.gov/chemidplus/name/startswith/mica. Accessed April 25, 2022.

[12] CDC. Occupational Health Guideline for Mica. Available online: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/81-123/pdfs/0431.pdf. Accessed April 25, 2022.

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