Danny Katz of U.S. PIRG, a consumer advocate group, says after testing over a dozen products at the American accessories chain Claire’s, the group found that teen cosmetics tested positive for asbestos in three of the samples. In The Netherlands, Dutch health and safety authorities also found asbestos in two types of Claire’s cosmetics for young girls – a face powder and a contouring powder. Dutch authorities pulled the products from the shelves.
Katz elaborated by saying that it is unacceptable to have asbestos in these products. Asbestos, when inhaled, can lead to lung cancer and even to mesothelioma. “We need Claire’s to remove these products from the shelves and we need them to figure out how asbestos got in their products to begin with. We need Congress and the FDA to take action. We need to ban asbestos from beauty care products and makeup.”
Not the first time
Late in 2017 there were similar allegations concerning Claire’s carrying cosmetics containing asbestos in their stores. If they sell asbestos-containing products, many thousands of people could be exposed. The chain has 7,500 locations in 45 countries with approximately 17,000 employees.
In the current tests and in 2017, the Claire’s chain contracted additional testing facilities, which found no asbestos in the products cited. Claire’s maintains that the testing by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) is outdated and inaccurate.
“At Claire’s, customer safety is of paramount concern, and we pride ourselves in providing our customers with quality products that we stand by, so we wish to address a recent report that cosmetics sold by Claire’s may contain asbestos. We want to assure our customers that all of our products are safe and asbestos-free.”
“In addition, testing of more than 85 samples using the most up to date test methods has been conducted by independent laboratories both in the USA and Europe. In addition, several cosmetic products sold by Claire’s have been tested by Health Canada and the Dutch Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT). This extensive testing conducted by four separate laboratories has confirmed that these cosmetics products do not contain asbestos. In addition, all our powder-based cosmetics use the same base formulation, utilizing Merck certified asbestos-free talc, which is the same talc used in other well-known cosmetic brands.”
U.S. PIRG reply
“Claire’s incorrectly claims that our testing methods are unsound. Its accusations are misinformed at best, and seem to be designed to distract from the bottom-line: that Claire’s is selling makeup that contains asbestos to preteens. Claire’s has previously claimed that its products are free of asbestos, despite evidence to the contrary. While we have been transparent about our testing methods and results, Claire’s does not provide its own test results, or explain its own testing methodology. On balance, it is clear that Claire’s is trying to confuse the facts.”
“Our lab is accredited by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology NVLAP program. The FDA used a lab on this accredited list for their cosmetics testing for asbestos (AMA Analytical Services) and we used another lab on the list, STAT Analysis Corporation.”
“When Claire’s was previously accused of selling makeup contaminated with asbestos, it pulled the products from the shelves. Based on our new test results, it should do the same now.”
The Dutch NVWA (health and safety group) did not withdraw products in 2017 because of assurances by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that there was nothing wrong with the products cited. The products in the current tests were removed in The Netherlands as the Dutch inspectors found 2% to 5% asbestos in the face powder and .1% to 2% in the contouring powder. All products containing asbestos are banned in The Netherlands, and 55 other countries, because of the danger to health. The United States has not fully banned asbestos.
Claire’s filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for its US stores in March 2018 but is not planning to close any US locations.