WASHINGTON – The Food and Drug Administration issued a rare alert today, urging consumers to stop using certain cosmetics products from the national retailer Claire’s, after the agency found the deadly carcinogen asbestos in at least three different talc-based products.
Geologically, talc and asbestos can be formed from the same parent rock. In many regions, talc deposits are contaminated with asbestos fibers.
The products in question, all made with talc, include Claire’s Eye Shadows, Claire’s Compact Powder and Claire’s Contour Palette.
Claire’s, which sells jewelry, makeup and other items targeted at young girls and children, announced in 2017 it was recalling a number of its makeup products after they tested positive for asbestos.
“It is troubling to think just how many people of all ages have been using talc-based cosmetics products potentially contaminated with asbestos, one of the deadliest substances in existence,” said EWG Scott Faber, EWG’s senior vice president for government affairs. “While consumers should be both alarmed and outraged, it’s hardly a surprise, considering the federal law regulating the cosmetics industry has not been updated since 1938.”
A bipartisan group of House and Senate leaders are about to reintroduce sweeping cosmetics reform legislation that could go a long way toward fixing this problem.
The proposals – authored by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Reps. Frank Pallone (D-N.J) and Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) – will, among other things, give FDA new power to ensure products are safe and free from dangerous substances like asbestos before putting them on the market, and would give the FDA the tools it needs to protect the public.
“I urge consumers to heed the FDA’s alert and avoid these products, and I hope members of Congress finally recognize the current system that has allowed the cosmetics industry to operate beyond the reach of FDA’s authority must end,” added Faber.
Recent estimates show nearly 40,000 Americans die annually from asbestos-triggered diseases, including mesothelioma and asbestosis.
The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.