Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) alerted the public that asbestos has been detected in 2 cosmetic products. The manufacturers — Claire’s Stores Inc. and Beauty Plus Global — have already undertaken voluntary recalls of the specific products.
The tests that triggered the recall were part of the FDA’s ongoing investigation into reports of asbestos contamination in cosmetics being sold in the United States. Although these products are no longer available in stores, they may still be in the homes of consumers. The items in the latest recall include:
- Beauty Plus Global Contour Effects Palette 2, Batch No. S1603002/PD-C1179
- Claire’s® JoJo Siwa Makeup Set, SKU #888711136337, Batch/Lot No. S180109
Anyone with these products is advised to stop using them immediately. The risks posed by asbestos are very serious. Asbestos is the name of a mineral that was widely used in construction and consumer goods before its cancer risks were understood. Since 1991, asbestos has contributed to the death of more than 1 million Americans.
Health care professionals and consumers are encouraged to report adverse events to MedWatch, the FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program.
There have not been any adverse reactions reported to date, according to Claire’s, which said that the JoJo Siwa Makeup Set was sold online and nationwide from July 2018 to May 2019.
Claire’s Mistakenly Claimed All Tainted Product Pulled
This is the second asbestos recall for Claire’s products in 2019. In the past, the company has refused FDA guidance to recall contaminated products. For Claire’s to make an immediate recall of a product with asbestos concerns is a welcome and constructive step. Their cooperation will be key moving forward, because there is more work to be done to keep consumers safe.
In March, after the original FDA action recalling tainted Claire’s cosmetics, the company told the public that all of their talc items had been pulled from shelves and that they had committed to talc-free manufacturing. While the pledge to rid their products of talc is good, they were obviously wrong about having recalled all necessary items.
In a statement to Today, Claire’s said they recalled their product “out of an abundance of caution after testing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration indicated the possible presence of trace amounts of asbestos fibers in the powder eyeshadow element of the kit.”
Joelle Joanie Siwa, better known as “JoJo,” is a teenage American dancer and singer who became famous on the Lifetime reality TV series Dance Moms. Siwa is incredibly popular among teen and pre-teen girls, making her ideal for the Claire’s brand.
The young age of the average consumer likely affected by these contaminated products only ratchets up the level of concern for regulators. There is a real danger posed to children, who are “still in the formative years of development,” when they use these products daily on sensitive areas like the face, eye-lids and lips.
How Does Asbestos Get Into Makeup?
One specific ingredient has been the focus of much of the FDA’s investigation of asbestos contamination in consumer cosmetics. Talc, like asbestos, is a naturally occurring mineral. It’s actually the softest mineral known to man. Many of the properties of talc make it ideal for familiar consumer goods, like chewing gum and baby powder.
When companies mine for talc, they have to be very careful that they don’t end up getting asbestos mixed in. The 2 minerals are found naturally together, often occurring in the same rock formations. Because asbestos fibers are small, durable and carcinogenic, the risk of contaminated talc is a huge concern.
Exposure to asbestos carries the risk of developing mesothelioma, asbestosis and other types of cancer. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no safe level of asbestos exposure, and once a person is exposed to asbestos, the cancer risks are lifelong.
The FDA has taken a number of steps to address the potential for asbestos-contaminated talc in consumer products, but obviously more needs to be done.
Thousands of women have come forward alleging that asbestos-contaminated talc in baby powder caused their mesothelioma. Ten of these women and their families have already won victories in talc-asbestos lawsuits. Securing this measure of justice in court is good, but these women never should have been harmed in the first place.
The truth is that, by the time a product has been recalled, irreversible damage has already been done. Mesothelioma has a latency period of decades, which means that someone may present symptoms of the cancer 20-50 years after asbestos exposure. When it comes to asbestos, there is no such thing as being too careful.
For more information about additional recalls of Claire’s and other cosmetic products, check the FDA Cosmetics Recalls & Alerts.
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