FDA Confirms Asbestos Contamination in Some Cosmetics

Apr. 9, 2019

The cosmetics industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, with people of all ages—including youths—using cosmetic products daily. A 2017 report suggested that certain cosmetic products sold by Claire’s and Justice retailers were contaminated with asbestos, a carcinogen linked to terminal health issues. In March 2019, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released its findings from independent testing that confirm the 2017 report. The FDA further announced new steps to prevent cosmetic contamination such as makeup with asbestos in it.

Cosmetic companies rake in billions of dollars each year with products consumers believe are safe to use. Adults and youths put cosmetics on their face, and near vulnerable areas such as their eyes and mouth, believing the products will not harm them. It is unacceptable that companies would allow such a dangerous toxin as asbestos in cosmetics. At Cutter Law, we are committed to holding companies accountable for the products they put on the market and for ensuring justice to anyone harmed by contaminated products.

Cosmetics Containing Asbestos

In 2017, a mother whose daughter bought cosmetics from Claire’s became concerned about the cosmetics’ ingredients and sent them to a lab for testing. The lab’s results suggested the products contained tremolite asbestos, a material linked to cancer. After further testing across multiple states and products, every product Kristi Warner had tested came back positive for asbestos.

Following that report, the FDA had two separate labs conduct testing of Claire’s and Justice cosmetics to determine whether the products were contaminated with asbestos. According to the FDA, results from both tests showed contamination of some of the products.

Claire’s Products Affected

On Mar. 12, 2019, the FDA issued an advisory warning consumers not to use certain batches of Claire’s cosmetics.

Claire’s Eye Shadows—Batch No/Lot No: 08/17

Claire’s Compact Powder—Batch No/Lot No: 07/15

Claire’s Contour Palette—Batch No/Lot No: 04/17

Additionally, the FDA found asbestos in a Justice cosmetic product that was recalled in 2017. The FDA did note that Claire’s initially refused to comply with the FDA’s recall request but Clarie’s asbestos makeup was ultimately removed from stores with the company saying the products were safe but it was being cautious. The FDA is not able to force cosmetic companies to issue recalls.

In addition to announcing test results, the FDA called on cosmetic companies to be more transparent about safety and about its use of talc.

Asbestos Contamination

Asbestos is a known carcinogen, linked to serious health problems including asbestosis, mesothelioma, and respiratory issues when it is swallowed or inhaled. So far, there is no cure for asbestosis or mesothelioma.

There is also no law requiring the FDA to oversee the safety of cosmetic products, nor is there any law for cosmetic makers to test that their products are safe.

The FDA can only act if it can be shown that a cosmetic has been contaminated or mislabeled, or is in some way unsafe for use when used in an expected way.

The carcinogen often makes its way into cosmetics products because it is found near talc, which is often used in various cosmetics. The Environmental Working Group, an advocacy group, says asbestos is “one of the deadliest substances.”

“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 warns.

Johnson & Johnson faced lawsuits for its talc powder, which plaintiffs alleged contained asbestos and caused serious health problems. A report from The New York Times and Reuters alleged Johnson & Johnson knew for decades about the risk of asbestos contamination but prevented that information from reaching the public.

Defective Product Attorneys

Product makers have a duty to ensure their products are safe for use and are not unnecessarily harmful to the public. This includes ensuring that consumers are not exposed to known carcinogens through their use of cosmetics. No one should have to worry that putting on make-up could lead to mesothelioma.

The highly respected attorneys at Cutter Law have extensive experience holding product makers accountable for their products. We have obtained hundreds of millions of dollars for our personal injury clients by refusing to back down against large corporations with deep pockets.

Our attorneys have the skills and resources to thoroughly investigate your claim and maximize your compensation.


If you or a loved one has been harmed by a defective product, contact a Sacramento or Oakland attorney at Cutter Law today

Personal injury and civil justice attorney Brooks Cutter is a leading advocate for consumer justice and protecting the rights of the severely injured. Brooks founded Cutter Law, P.C., with offices in Sacramento and Oakland, with…
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