Pallone: FDA should probe for asbestos in makeup sold at Claire's, Justice
WALL - The Food and Drug Administration should investigate reports that asbestos was found in cosmetics products sold by retailers Claire's Stores Inc. and Justice Retail, makeup marketed to girls and young women, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., said Friday.
"Recently, there has been a lot of sort of frightening stories about cosmetics retailers marketing to children and to young teenagers, or young people, products that have had problems," Pallone said outside Claire's on Route 35 in Wall.
In December, girls fashion retailer Claire's voluntarily recalled nine cosmetic products after a Providence, Rhode Island, television station aired a story about a local law firm's test of a Claire's product. The report said it contained cancer-causing asbestos.
In early January, Claire's said its test results from two independent labs confirmed the company's earlier tests that the products are "asbestos free, completely safe and meet all government requirements."
"Any report that suggests that the products are not safe is totally false," the company said.
Justice has recalled eight Just Shine cosmetics products after a reported presence of asbestos in tested samples of Just Shine Shimmer Powder. While one set of laboratory tests showed no evidence of asbestos, a second round revealed "trace amounts of asbestos," Justice said in a statement on its website.
Representatives from Claire's Stores and Justice Retail could not be reached for further comment Friday.
Pallone called for an investigation in a letter to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottleib.
“While asbestos appears to be the primary impurity in the Justice Retail and Claire’s cosmetics, I am also gravely concerned about the risk that other cosmetic products may also be tainted with dangerous chemicals,” Pallone wrote.
“I urge FDA to thoroughly investigate the claims against Justice Retail and Claire’s Stores, and to open a broader investigation into the presence of asbestos and other hazardous impurities in children’s cosmetics.”
It comes as part of a push by Pallone, the ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, for increased regulation of the cosmetic and personal care industry.
"The thing that amazes me ... is that so many people who buy cosmetics products just assume that they're safe and they're being regulated by the government," Pallone said. "That's not the case often times because the FDA has very little authority over cosmetics, even through cosmetics is one of the areas where they have the most activity."
Regulations for the cosmetics industry, a $60 billion a year industry, have not changed since 1938, Pallone said.
Contributing: USA TODAY
David P. Willis: 732-643-4039; firstname.lastname@example.org; facebook.com/dpwillis732.