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The US Food and Drug Administration has a new warning for parents: don’t let your kids use cosmetics sold by Claire’s—they may contain asbestos.

Regulators issued a statement Tuesday after confirming some cosmetics—eye shadows, compact powders and contour palettes, specifically—sold by Claire’s tested positive for asbestos. 

Claire’s, which just emerged from bankruptcy in October after filing Chapter 11 in March of 2018, pulled the products in question from shelves “out of an abundance of caution,” and the company says it’s also getting rid of any other talc-based cosmetics from stores. The company stopped short of issuing a recall, something teen-space competitor Justice did in 2017  after trace amounts of asbestos were found in some of its products.

In a statement, Claire’s protested the FDA’s warning, saying the FDA’s test results “show significant errors.” The company says its cosmetics had been “extensively tested by multiple independent accredited laboratories” last year and were following safety regulations.

While the news of asbestos in cosmetics—marketed to teens or not—is concerning, what could be even more unsettling is how it underscores a lack of standards for the cosmetics industry as a whole. 

Currently, cosmetics do not require review or approval by the FDA. Safety standards and testing are left up to individual companies to execute and report. 

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., and Susan Mayne, Ph.D., director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition issued a joint statement on Tuesday, calling on all parties to do better in the name of consumer safety. “These products are used as part of daily beauty and cleansing routines, often times on the skin’s most sensitive areas, like the face, eyelids and lips. That’s why it’s so important that cosmetic products are safe, properly labeled and free of contamination.

“Our overarching aim is to ensure the safety of cosmetic products and protect consumers. 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safety paradigm of cosmetics in the U.S., we would need to work with stakeholders, including Congress, to modernize the outdated regulatory framework that the FDA has been operating under for more than 80 years when it comes to cosmetics.”

The pair also called on cosmetics manufacturers to voluntarily register their products and list their ingredients on the FDA’s Voluntary Cosmetic Registration Program (VCRP) in addition to proactively reporting any “adverse events involving cosmetic products” to the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition’s Adverse Event Reporting System. Gottlieb and Mayne say these two steps, although not required under current law, would make great strides in the safe oversight of cosmetics. 

The FDA says there are no known cases of illness linked to Claire’s cosmetics. Asbestos fibers can get stuck in a person’s lungs, and can cause cancer.

The three products that tested positive for asbestos 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.

Carolyn Moore

Carolyn has served as Editor-in-Chief of Her View From Home since 2017. A long time ago, she worked in local TV news and fell in love with telling stories—something she feels grateful to help women do every day at HVFH. She lives in flyover country with her husband and five kids but is really meant to be by the ocean with a good book and a McDonald's fountain Coke. 

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