Health & Fitness

FDA issues a safety alert after confirming asbestos in two brands of girls’ cosmetics

From top: Claire’s Eye Shadow, Compact Powder and Contour.
From top: Claire’s Eye Shadow, Compact Powder and Contour. FDA

A year after girls’ fashion chain Claire’s aggressively disputed a claim by a Rhode Island mother that testing showed asbestos in Claire’s makeup, the Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday Mom was right about at least three Claire’s products.

Claire’s, meanwhile, said in a Tuesday night email to The Miami Herald that the FDA is wrong. Claire’s products are safe.

Still, Claire’s pulled the three products — Claire’s Eye Shadow, Compact Powder and Contour Palette — from stores “out of an abundance of caution,” along with any other talc-based cosmetics.

That removes part of the reason for the FDA’s Tuesday afternoon Safety Alert about the products. The FDA said it issued the alert because Claire’s refused its request to recall the makeup.

The FDA says testing by OSHA and AMA Analytical Services also found asbestos in one of the seven products Justice recalled on Sept. 5, 2017. Testing done by Raleigh, North Carolina, television station ABC11 in July 2017 turned up asbestos in Justice’s Just Shine Shimmer Powder.

Five months later, Rhode Island law firm operations director Kristi Warner sent some of her daughter’s makeup from Claire’s to be tested. After that tested positive for asbestos, she said, her law firm collected 17 Claire’s samples from nine states. Same result. Warner works for The Deaton Law Firm, which its website says specializes in mesothelioma and asbestos-related diseases.

A Warner email to The Herald Tuesday night said she was “glad the FDA has finally weighed in on the matter and has outlined their intent to help better protect the consumers!”

Claire’s clapped back at The Deaton Law Firm-funded testing, as it did Tuesday night at the FDA’s testing.

“The recent test results the FDA have shared with us show significant errors,” Claire’s said. “Specifically, 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.”

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Outgoing FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Director Susan Mayne issued a lengthy joint statement that ended with several suggestions going forward on cosmetic safety. Included were:

“We will be investigating how manufacturers source talc with appropriate traceability, and whether they test raw talc and/or their finished products. We also want to know how many cosmetics products contain talc and whether manufacturers have received adverse event reports associated with talc-containing products.”

“Next, although the law doesn’t require cosmetic products to be registered with the FDA, we’re also calling upon cosmetic firms to take responsible steps to voluntarily register their products and list ingredients, including talc, used in their products via the FDA’s Voluntary Cosmetic Registration Program.”

“To significantly shift the safety paradigm of cosmetics in the U.S., we would need to work with stakeholders, including Congress, to modernize the outdated regulatory framework that the FDA has been operating under for more than 80 years when it comes to cosmetics. Our program for cosmetics also has remained small despite the industry’s significant expansion and global supply chain.”

Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.