Asbestos found in Claire’s cosmetics, FDA says

The FDA advised consumers not to use three Claire’s brand cosmetic products after tests found they contained asbestos.

The agency issued a safety alert on Claire’s Eye Shadows, Compact Powder and Contour Pallette, after they tested positive for tremolite asbestos. The FDA also detected asbestos in a Justice product, which had already been recalled in 2017, according to the agency.

The three Claire’s products are not believed to be for sale, but consumers who have them at home should stop using them, the FDA said.

Claire’s, which sells makeup, jewelry and accessories aimed at teens, tweens and kids, said that it has removed the three cosmetic items and any talc-based products from stores. The company said in a statement that its products are safe and that “customer safety is paramount.”

The company took issue with the FDA’s tests. “The recent test results the FDA have shared with us show significant errors. Specifically, the FDA test reports have mischaracterized 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.”

Claire’s said it was “disappointed that the FDA has taken this step, and we will continue to work with them to demonstrate the safety of our products.”

The retailer operates the Claire’s and Icing brands, and filed for bankruptcy in March last year, emerging from it in October.

In 2017, Claire’s took nine makeup products off the shelves following a report by CNN affiliate WJAR-TV that tremolite asbestos was found in the makeup.

The FDA then tested some of the products and released the results Tuesday.

“We understand how concerning this finding is for any consumer and parents whose children may have used one of these products,” according to the FDA. It encouraged health care professionals and consumers who may have medical issues related to the Claire’s products to report it to the FDA’s adverse events reporting program.

There are no laws requiring companies to test their cosmetic products for safety, and the FDA has limited authority to ensure the safety of cosmetic products. It can’t review products before they go to market like they do for drugs.

The agency said it’s working with cosmetic manufacturers to better understand how they’re making sure the talc is free of asbestos. Asbestos is often found near talc, which is mined and used in many make-up products.

Asbestos becomes dangerous when particles or fibers enter the lungs or stomach. If swallowed or inhaled, tremolite asbestos can lead to lung damage and cancer, including mesothelioma, an aggressive and deadly form of cancer.

The FDA announced that it’s starting a voluntary registry for cosmetic companies to list their products and ingredients, including talc.

The departing FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, and Susan Mayne, the director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, called for a more modernized framework for the agency to “improve consumer safety” for cosmetics, including better ways to register products, ingredients, and access to consumer complaints.

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