Analysis, Commentary

New Report: Asbestos Found in Claire’s Kids Makeup

U.S. PIRG Education Fund
(Source: U.S. PIRG Education Fund)

New studies indicate asbestos contamination in Claire’s makeup products sold nationally; Policymakers should regulate asbestos

CHICAGO—(ENEWSPF)—March 13, 2018

By:  Dev Gowda, U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Kara Cook-Schultz, U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Independent lab results confirm that makeup that U.S PIRG Education Fund found for sale at Claire’s retail stores across the country is contaminated with asbestos, which causes cancer. Parents and consumers need to know about these asbestos-laden makeup products. We alerted Claire’s to these test results more than a week ago and asked the company to recall these items immediately and to inform customers. Claire’s has responded, stating that it has not found asbestos contamination in its makeup products.

“Parents should be able to trust that the makeup they buy for their kids is safe,” said Dev Gowda, Director of the Toxic-Free Products Campaign with U.S. PIRG Education Fund. “Claire’s should immediately recall the three makeup products and investigate how such high levels of asbestos were found in these products.”

Using an accredited laboratory, U.S. PIRG Education Fund tested 15 kids’ and adult’s makeup products containing talc from several different brands. The products that tested positive for asbestos were re-tested to confirm the results. Both rounds of test results were given to Claire’s and the FDA.

Lab results showed three Claire’s makeup products contained asbestos:

  • Claire’s Contour Palette: tested for 84,746 fibers of asbestos per gram of product
  • Claire’s Shadow and Highlight Finishing Kit: tested for 61,538 fibers of asbestos per gram of product
  • Claire’s Compact Powder: tested for 153,846 fibers of asbestos per gram of product

“There’s no safe limit of asbestos in cosmetics,” said Sonya Kenkare, MD, FAAD, board-certified dermatologist. “Congress and the FDA should take immediate action to ensure that the products we use daily, especially those marketed towards kids and teens, are free of asbestos contamination.”

“It is unacceptable to find asbestos in any products, especially products being sold to kids,” said Linda Reinstein, President and CEO of The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO).

No one adds pure asbestos to makeup. However, asbestos can occur naturally in talc, and talc is commonly added to cosmetics. Sparkly, shimmery, and powdery makeup often contains talc as a major ingredient. Inhaling or ingesting any form of asbestos can lead to serious health conditions, including lung cancer and mesothelioma. Repeated topical exposure to asbestos may also result in increased skin cancer risk.

We decided to test the makeup when Claire’s recalled nine makeup products in December, after a North Carolina-based lab showed the makeup tested positive for asbestos. Claire’s later released a statement that, according to its internal testing, it did not find any asbestos in its products. However, our new testing on different products suggests that the asbestos problem at Claire’s is pervasive and ongoing. Policymakers should require makeup companies to test products for asbestos, especially those containing talc, prior to selling them. Consumers should contact makeup companies directly to find out if their products’ talc is sourced safely.

“We have to better regulate deadly, asbestos-laced products. We’ve known that for decades. It makes no sense that our kids may bring them home from the mall,” said Kara Cook, U.S. PIRG Education Fund’s Toxics Program Director.

Read our full report on asbestos in Claire’s makeup here.

Statement from Kara Cook-Schultz, U.S. PIRG Education Fund Toxics Program Director

“We believe that the results from the independent lab in Chicago stand up to scrutiny. Our lab uses the methods laid out by the Food & Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency for testing.

“The FDA lays out methodology for testing cosmetics for asbestos here:

“Our lab used two methods (both of which the lab is accredited for) and then re-tested their results of the TEM method:

  • PLM procedure: EPA Method EPA 600/R-93/116 “Method for the Determination of Asbestos in Bulk Building Materials.”
  • TEM procedure: EPA Method 40 CFR Part 763, Subpart E, Appendix A, “Interim Transmission Electron Microscopy Analytical Methods – Mandatory and Nonmandatory – and Mandatory section to Determine Completion of Response Actions.”

“For asbestos testing in talc in makeup, the FDA has used a lab accredited by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. 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.

“We tested 15 different products, 12 of which tested negative for asbestos. Claire’s was the only company whose products were found to contain asbestos. Of the four products we tested from Claire’s, three of the four products tested positive for asbestos. One of the four products tested negative for asbestos. Our results show that only 20% of the products we tested contained asbestos. This further demonstrates that the testing procedures were fair, balanced, and independent.

“Claire’s has had time to respond to our test results, to take these products off the shelves, and to inform consumers. Instead, only after the media contacted the company, Claire’s is claiming that our testing methods are unsound (without giving any details about alternative testing methods), and Claire’s is not taking these products off the shelves. When Claire’s was previously accused of selling makeup contaminated with asbestos, they pulled the products from the shelves. They should do the same now, since our test results demonstrate they are selling three products that contain asbestos.”

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U.S. PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) Education Fund is an independent, non-partisan group that works for consumers and the public interest. Through research, public education and outreach, we serve as counterweights to the influence of powerful special interests that threaten our health, safety, or well-being.

Source: U.S. PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) Education Fund