Asbestos found in cosmetics targeting teens and preteens continues to be a problem in a statement from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week. This affirmation is the result of testing performed by U.S. PIRG, a consumer advocate group, in both 2017 and 2018. These three branded cosmetic products from Claire’s and one sold by Justice, were among those tested in 2017 and again in 2018. The Claire’s products tested positive for tremolite asbestos in 2018 as did the Justice product.
Why is asbestos found in cosmetics harmful?
After years and decades of testing, it is proven than there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos. Asbestos that is in solid form, such as shingles, left untouched is a potential danger, but asbestos that is loose, as found in powders and other cosmetics, is definitely dangerous. These products are easily inhaled or ingested which can lead to lung cancer and even mesothelioma – a deadly disease. In addition, these products targeted young girls, still growing and developing.
In all testing, Claire’s contends there is no danger and that the U.S. PIRG report is faulty and misleading. In their independent testing, no asbestos fibers were found, however they have not disclosed their testing methodologies or results.
Claire’s spokeswoman, Melanie Berry said in a statement, “The FDA test reports have mis-characterized fibers in the products as asbestos, in direct contradiction to established EPA and USP criterion for classifying asbestos fibers.” “Despite our efforts to discuss these issues with the FDA, they insisted on moving forward with their release. We are disappointed that the FDA has taken this step, and we will continue to work with them to demonstrate the safety of our products.”
Claire’s filed for bankruptcy in the US in March 2018 and came out of it in October of 2018
“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) as well as another lab on the list, STAT Analysis Corporation.”
Why are cosmetic companies allowed to sell these products?
The FDA cannot force a company to remove asbestos-laden products because there are no laws requiring testing cosmetic products for safety. “The FDA is today announcing the results of these tests. Those tests confirmed the presence of asbestos in three of the product samples collected from Claire’s and one of the product samples collected from Justice. All suspect Justice products, including the one testing positive for asbestos, were previously recalled from the market in 2017. The FDA issued a Safety Alert today warning consumers to discontinue use of three Claire’s products: Claire’s Eye Shadows – Batch No/Lot No: 08/17; Claire’s Compact Powder – Batch No/Lot No: 07/15; and, Claire’s Contour Palette – Batch No/Lot No: 04/17 because they tested positive for asbestos.
In an FDA press release published on March 5, 2019, the following statement was made, “The FDA requested that Claire’s recall the products because they should not be used by consumers. Claire’s has refused to comply with the FDA’s request, and the agency does not have authority to mandate a recall. The FDA is therefore warning consumers not to use these products and will continue to communicate our safety concerns about them.“
Until laws requiring testing are enacted, the FDA requests cosmetic firms to take voluntary measures to register in the FDA’s Voluntary Cosmetic Registration Program (VCRP.) The FDA also asks manufacturers to voluntarily report any negative effects involving cosmetic products.
While the FDA was told there are no more asbestos-tainted products in the Claire’s stores, they caution anyone who has them in their homes should stop using them.