Claire’s is disputing the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) warning to consumers that three of the tween retailer’s talc-containing makeup products tested positive for cancer-causing asbestos, arguing that the tests mischaracterized fibers. The company said it tried to discuss the matter with the FDA but the agency instead moved swiftly to issue the Safety Alert. The company also said that it removed the three products in question from its store shelves “out of an abundance of caution.”
The FDA issued the Safety Alert to warn consumers not to use Claire’s Eye Shadows, Claire’s Compact Powder, and Claire’s Contour Palette due to asbestos risks because Claire’s refused to issue a recall.
The issue came to light in 2017, after a consumer and public interest group announced findings from a third-party laboratory that testing on several cosmetics marketed to tweens from retailers Claire’s and Justice tested positive for the known carcinogen asbestos. Justice recalled several of its talc-containing products. Claire’s did not issue a recall but did remove the products from store shelves. Last year, the company filed for bankruptcy to shield itself from about $2 billion of debt and protect it against lawsuits.
The FDA conducted its own tests on the cosmetic powders and this week announced it found three Claire’s products and one Justice product contained asbestos. Claire’s still refused to issue a recall of the products, prompting the FDA to alert consumers.
Asbestos is a mineral that is mined from the earth similar to talc. Exposure to asbestos has been linked to serious diseases including lung cancer and mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer. Studies also suggest that talcum powder, if used on the genitals for feminine hygiene, can cause ovarian cancer.