Asbestos found in Claire’s products, FDA announces

But the popular cosmetics retailer claims the test results ‘show significant errors’ and insists its products are safe

Olivia Petter
Wednesday 06 March 2019 10:25
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The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has confirmed the presence of asbestos in three makeup products from Claire’s Stores Inc.

The FDA conducted a series of tests into the retailer’s cosmetics after reports of asbestos in its cosmetics surfaced in 2017, prompting Claire’s to recall nine of its products from stores.

“Because the 2017 testing was done by third-party laboratories, the agency believed it was important to scientifically confirm that these reports were accurate,” reads a statement issued by the governmental organisation on Tuesday.

Asbestos is the term for a group of minerals made up of microscopic fibres, which, when inhaled, can lead to a number of life-threatening diseases, including mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, asbestosis and pleural thickening.

The three items the FDA is urging consumers to avoid in light of its test results are Claire’s Eye Shadows (batch/lot No: 08/17), Claire’s Compact Powder (batch/lot No: 07/15), and Claire’s Contour Palette (batch/lot No: 04/17).

The FDA also conducted an examination into cosmetics sold by "tween beauty brand" Justice, and found one product containing asbestos. Justice recalled the product in 2017.

Claire’s, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US in March 2018, is one of the world’s largest speciality retailers of fashion jewellery and accessories, selling its products in more than 7,500 locations across 45 countries. It’s particularly popular among young women and children.

“We understand how concerning this finding is for any consumer and parents whose children may have used one of these products,” the FDA’s statement adds, explaining that it would be looking into new measures that would help protect consumers from similar health risks.

Claire’s has responded to the FDA’s findings by insisting that its products are safe, but added that it will be removing the three products identified by the FDA from its stores.

“There is no evidence that any products sold by Claire’s are unsafe,” a spokesperson for the retailer said before insisting that the FDA’s findings are flawed.

“In early 2018, the three items identified by the FDA were extensively tested by multiple independent accredited laboratories, and all products were found to be compliant with all relevant cosmetic safety regulations,” they continued.

“The recent test results the FDA have shared with us show significant errors. Specifically, the FDA test reports have mis-characterised fibres in the products as asbestos, in direct contradiction to established EPA and USP criterion for classifying asbestos fibres.

“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.”

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