Many people wouldn’t expect to find asbestos in cosmetics. However, it has been found in makeup products sold by the retailer Claire’s. The reports of asbestos were first made public in 2017. The retailer, which is a go-to destination for jewelry and cosmetics for teen girls, pulled the products found to contain the known carcinogen off the shelves. However, it didn’t recall them.
Now the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a safety alert about certain Claire’s cosmetics — including powders and eye shadows. In the alert, which is based on the agency’s test results, customers are urged not to use the products.
Claire’s, which has managed to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the past year, countered that the FDA’s test result “show significant errors.” It claims that the products were “extensively tested by multiple independent accredited laboratories” last year and determined to adhere to safety regulations. However, a spokesperson for the retailer says, “Out of an abundance of caution, we have removed the three products identified by the FDA from our stores, and are also removing any remaining talc-based cosmetic products.”
Outgoing FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb expressed dismay this month that current regulations limit the agency’s oversight of cosmetic products and prevent it from issuing a recall itself. Two U.S. senators have announced plans to help strengthen cosmetic industry oversight.
Asbestos has been found in other products that contain talc, such as baby powder. That’s because talc and asbestos are often present in the same mines.
Regardless of what actions are taken by manufacturers, retailers and the government to get unsafe products off the market, consumers may still be able to hold companies liable for producing and selling products that have caused them harm. If you or a loved one has been harmed by a defective or dangerous product, it’s wise to seek legal guidance.