Department - Author 1

Materials Engineering Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BS in Materials Engineering



Primary Advisor

Trevor Harding


In today’s modern society, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates many industries to protect consumers’ health; the cosmetics industry is not one of them. Through self-regulation, companies continue to sell products for topical use on the body that have been known to contain toxic chemicals with little to no testing on the effects they have on the human body. The purpose of this project was to determine the content of such known toxins in five different brands of face powders. X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) was used to verify the primary component and Inductively Coupled Plasma-Optical Emissions Spectroscopy (ICP-OES) was used to find trace metals. Analysis revealed that the predominant component was talc and mica, with trace concentrations of nickel (0.5-3 ppm), lead (0.5-3 ppm), and copper (0.75-2.8 ppm) in all the brands, chromium (4.25 ppm) in one brand, and relatively high amounts of iron (2690.25-11307.5 ppm) in all of the samples. While ICP-OES cannot discern the form of the element (ionic or elemental), these findings raise concerns about the long-term use of these products.