‘We’re calling on Claire’s to recall all of these products:’ Independent study finds asbestos in makeup targeted at teens

MILWAUKEE — There are more accusations against Claire's stores that its makeup targeted at teens contains asbestos. It comes less than two months after the company declared its makeup safe to use.

A new study by the consumer advocacy group U.S. PIRG claims to have uncovered three makeup products containing asbestos being sold in Claire's stores.

"It's a dangerous chemical and it's especially something we should not be exposing our kids to," explained Peter Skopec, the foundation director of WISPIRG. "Asbestos is a carcinogen, so it's a material that causes cancer, especially lung cancer."

Skopec says topical exposure of asbestos to the face can also lead to an increased risk of skin cancer.

"Dermatologists say there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos," Skopec said. 

U.S. PIRG's study comes after Claire's voluntarily pulled nine makeup products from its shelves following media reports that its cosmetics contained asbestos.

Soon after, Claire's announced it had conducted its own testing and found the products to be asbestos-free and safe to use.

"So that led us to do some follow up testing," Skopec said.

U.S. PIRG says its study came after Claire's announcement.

"We're calling on Claire's to recall all of these products," Skopec said.

The products in questions are a contour palette, a shadow highlight finishing kit and white compact powder.

Skopec says asbestos can appear in cosmetics as a contaminant in talc -- a common ingredient.

"Especially powdery makeup products, or products that have glimmer or shimmer involved," Skopec said.

Claire's responded to  a request for comment by FOX6's Contact 6 calling the testing methods used by U.S. PIRG's study "obsolete and unreliable."

This is the entire statement sent by Claire's Press Office to Contact 6 about the study:

"At Claire’s, customer safety is of paramount concern, and we pride ourselves in providing our customers with quality products that we stand by, so we wish to address a recent report that cosmetics sold by Claire’s may contain asbestos.  We want to assure our customers that all of our products are safe and asbestos-free.

Claire’s categorically denies that the testing by STAT, relied upon by PIRG, is accurate. The test methods that were used by STAT are obsolete and unreliable, and STAT is not certified to perform the type of testing necessary for talc-based products.  In contrast, Claire’s has conducted extensive testing and investigation in cooperation with relevant authorities, including the FDA, Health Canada, and a number of EU enforcement agencies, to demonstrate that Claire’s products are asbestos-free and comply with all relevant safety regulations.  Indeed, testing by an independent laboratory of fifteen samples confirms that the products tested by STAT are asbestos-free.

In addition, testing of more than 85 samples using the most up to date test methods has been conducted by independent laboratories both in the USA and Europe. In addition, several cosmetic products sold by Claire’s have been tested by Health Canada and the Dutch Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT).  This extensive testing conducted by four separate laboratories has confirmed that these cosmetics products do not contain asbestos. In addition, all our powder-based cosmetics use the same base formulation, utilizing Merck certified asbestos-free talc, which is the same talc used in other well-known cosmetic brands."

In addition to calling on Claire's to recall the products, U.S. PIRG is also calling on the FDA and policymakers to require makeup companies to test products for asbestos before selling them.

WisPIRG shared with FOX6 News, their detailed response to Claire's:

Claire’s makes three main incorrect claims:

  1. That we did not perform the PLM method, but only used the TEM method. In our report where we provide a copy of our results, you can see that the lab performed both the TEM and PLM tests.
  2. That STAT Analysis Corporation has not been certified to test for these type of products. To the contrary, their accreditation for testing asbestos is here: http://www.statanalysis.com/accreditations.html. In fact, this certification is the same certification as the FDA’s lab for testing asbestos in talc.
  3. That the preparation procedures for the TEM method is outdated. This claim by Claire’s is not based on any literature, and is unsupported by the Talc Expert Panel.