Sure, you probably haven’t shopped at Claire’s since senior prom, but that doesn’t make the latest findings by the Food and Drug Administration any less concerning. On Tuesday, the FDA confirmed the presence of tremolite asbestos in makeup products sold at Claire’s and Justice.
After the known carcinogen turned up in certain cosmetics, including a contour kit and eye shadow palette, the FDA is urging anyone who has purchased the products to stop using them immediately. Exposure to asbestos has been found to lead to certain types of cancers and tumors on internal organs.
Perhaps what’s most concerning is that these products are being sold at popular tween retailers, where consumers are less educated about toxic ingredients and especially vulnerable to the dangers that exposure to these chemicals may pose. However, in a statement Tuesday evening, Claire’s insisted there was no evidence that any products sold by the company are unsafe. They also assured consumers that, out of caution, the chain would stop selling the items in question.
“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,” the statement said. “We will honor returns of any Claire’s talc-based cosmetics.”
Wondering how it got there in the first place? Tremolite asbestos is not used commercially, but can be found as contaminants in chrysotile asbestos, vermiculite, and talc. The latter is used as an absorbent in some cosmetics, personal care products, feminine hygiene products, and baby powders. Though it is deemed safe to use by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC), talc is best avoided when possible due to its risk of contamination. As the FDA explains, “During talc mining, if talc mining sites are not selected carefully and steps are taken to purify the talc ore sufficiently, the talc may be contaminated with asbestos.”
The FDA does not have the authority to recall cosmetics, as it does with food and drugs, and cosmetics manufacturers are not requiredto test their products for safety. This is why, as a consumer, it’s incredibly important to do your research and read ingredient lists when shopping for any beauty or personal care products you plan on applying to your skin.
“This. Is. Unacceptable. I tell clients all the time: Look Where Your Makeup Is Made!” celebrity makeup artist Suzy Gerstein wrote on Instagram in response to the reports from the FDA. She continued, warning followers that these chemicals are often found in “cheap makeup” and urging them to choose clean beauty products that are made in the U.S. or EU.