Claire’s, a global accessory retailer chain, sold makeup to teens and children that contained asbestos fibers. While Claire’s claims it pulled the cosmetics from stores, a national media outlet conducted a test in March 2019.
Media reporters bought two sets of Claire’s children’s makeup In New York and sent each one to a different testing laboratory.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration test results
Both laboratory reports based on the media outlet products found Claire’s makeup tested positive for asbestos fibers. Spokespersons for Claire’s responded by claiming the two independent laboratories were both wrong.
The director of one of these laboratories said he could clearly see asbestos fibers under the microscope. He said no amount of asbestos should ever be in makeup products, especially those made for children. Talc, a product that carries the asbestos fibers, binds particles of makeup together.
In a similar investigation, the FDA tested three Claire’s makeup products; FDA results also came back positive for asbestos fibers. Claire’s responded that the FDA test findings were in error, but added that the company was pulling all talc-based children’s makeup lines from retail shelves.
Asbestos fibers, a known carcinogen, are dangerous
Asbestos used over time on unprotected skin can result in skin cancers. Many products carry small, embedded fibers of asbestos. Industrial workers exposed to asbestos developed a lung cancer called mesothelioma. Most mesothelioma cancers can develop up to 50 years after exposure.
Researchers traced these cancers to asbestos fibers. The U.S. government banned asbestos in 1977 for certain applications, but asbestos is still legally used in America.
Asbestos provides insulation in homes built from 1930 through 1950; some paints and wall patching materials also contained the dangerous fibers. Class-action lawsuits for health damage from asbestos are the longest-running, most expensive legal actions in American history.
Claire’s makeup for children remain in American homes
Parents may want to search their homes for any remaining Claire’s makeup products. Claire’s has known about the problem since 2017; ironically, Claire’s was the first to report finding asbestos contamination in its makeup that year. In 2018, the company denied the original report, claiming no asbestos appeared in any of its products.