A small study, presented September 9, 2013, at the European Respiratory Society Annual Congress in Barcelona, has reportedly revealed that argan powder, used to manufacture foundation products, could be linked to occupational asthma. According to news sources, researchers examined nine French cosmetic factory workers who had been exposed to the ingredient in three different forms—crude granules, powder and liquid. The participants completed a medical history questionnaire, and researchers performed lung function and allergy tests as well as an inhalation challenge test, which examines the airway’s specific reaction to a substance.

Four workers reportedly displayed asthma or rhinitis symptoms and a blocked nose when handling argan powder. The inhalation challenge test revealed that three out of the four participants with asthma or rhinitis symptoms had occupational asthma triggered by the powder. Half of the participants with asthma-like symptoms tested positive for a skin allergy to argan powder. Noting that the study is “preliminary,” lead author Emmanuelle Penven said that it suggests an association between argan powder and occupational asthma and that initial findings “warrant further research to understand any health risks associated with the compound.” See MedicalDaily.com, September 9, 2013.