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The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced this week that the 2017 reports of Claire’s and Justice makeup containing asbestos particles have been confirmed. The presence of these particles in products, targeted to young children and teens, is concerning as asbestos exposure is the only known cause of mesothelioma cancer and other asbestos-related diseases, including asbestosis and asbestos lung cancer.
Results of the FDA’s Asbestos Testing
The FDA is not taking the results of their independent testing lightly and is currently reevaluating the requirements and oversight of the cosmetic industry. Currently, the FDA does not have to approve cosmetics before they go to market, but instead monitors these products and takes action once they've hit the shelves. It was during this post-market surveillance that the FDA became aware of the potentially contaminated products. Both Claire’s and Justice removed the at-risk products from their shelves. Justice voluntarily recalled their eight controversial products in 2017.
The results of the FDA’s testing show that three of the Claire’s products and one of the Justice cosmetics did in fact contain asbestos. The one Justice product was removed from the market in 2017 with their voluntary recall, and the FDA is warning consumers to not use the three asbestos-containing Claire's products. The Claire’s cosmetics are no longer sold in stores, but may still be used by consumers if purchased prior to their 2017 removal.
The following Claire’s products tested positive for asbestos and should not be used by consumers:
- Claire’s Eye Shadows – Batch No/Lot No: 08/17
- Claire’s Compact Powder – Batch No/Lot No: 07/15
- Claire’s Contour Palette – Batch No/Lot No: 04/17
The FDA has requested Claire’s recalls the products, but the retailer has not yet complied.
This is not the first time that asbestos-contaminated talc has been found in children’s products. In 2015, asbestos was found in children’s crayons and spy kits. Asbestos-contaminated talc has also been the source of numerous lawsuits following exposure to the toxin through use of talcum powder, specifically Johnson & Johnson brand, after numerous consumers began developing ovarian or mesothelioma cancers from exposure. The risk of such lawsuits may be one of the causes behind Claire’s 2018 filing of Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.
Health Effects of Asbestos Exposure
Exposure to asbestos-containing talc used in makeup or any asbestos product may cause mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases later in life. Exposure to asbestos is dangerous because of its direct link to the development of mesothelioma cancer. The rare cancer forms after the inhalation or ingestion of microscopic asbestos particles that are then lodged in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. It can take 10 – 50 years for the cancer, and its symptoms, to manifest following exposure to asbestos. Exposure to the particles at a young age may put Americans at a greater risk of mesothelioma development, as they may develop the cancer prior to illness and/or death due to other natural causes.
The dark reality of children’s products containing asbestos fibers is cause for concern and lawmakers are taking notice. A 2018 piece of proposed legislation, Children's Product Warning Label Act of 2018, would require that children’s products be asbestos free, or be marked with a warning label. Until such a law is enacted, parents should check their children’s products to ensure they are asbestos free.