Claire's Scare Revives Concerns About Asbestos-Tainted Kids' Cosmetics
This article was originally published in The Rose Sheet
Another retailer of cosmetics aimed at girls, Claire's, faces allegations of asbestos-contaminated makeup products, less than six months after tweens-focused Justice came under similar fire. Both retailers say their own independent testing showed products in question to be asbestos-free, but the PR damage may be done.
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The FDA is focused on driving adoption of more sensitive, standardized testing methods for assessing cosmetic talc purity, which it believes would yield more consistent results across labs. This would help to inform research into the health implications of trace levels of asbestos and other elongate mineral particles in talc; in the interim it could to be damaging to companies that supply or use that talc.
The Personal Care Products Council says talc-testing methods in the cosmetics industry must distinguish between carcinogenic asbestos and harmless non-asbestiform minerals, recalling its position against the FDA’s stab at rulemaking in 1973. However, the FDA is now arguing that elongate mineral particles of respirable dimensions are inherently dangerous, regardless of other considerations.
The agency issued a safety alert March 5 advising consumers to avoid three makeup products sold – at least previously – in Claire’s stores, which cater to girls and young women. The situation throws into relief the limitations of the current regulatory framework for cosmetics, which FDA is committed to modernizing while exploring steps to improve oversight using existing tools.