Claire’s, Beauty Plus asbestos recalls prompt makeup regulation questions

Young women applying makeup with possible asbestos contamination

The full extent of the contamination of cancer-causing material like asbestos in cosmetics is unknown by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration and health advocates are alarmed that laws do not exist requiring the testing of makeup and other beauty industry products. Concern was elevated with the voluntary removal of Claire’s Jojo Siwa Makeup Set and a contouring palette from Beauty Plus Global after the products tested positive for asbestos.

A safety alert issued by the FDA in June warned consumers to stop using both makeup products resulted in both companies issuing a voluntary recall of the products at the end of May.

There are currently no laws in the U.S. requiring cosmetic manufacturers to test the safety of ingredients before products are put on the market. While the FDA administratively oversees the cosmetics and personal care products, they have limited authority over manufacturers. Environmental health advocates say stronger regulation is needed in the cosmetics industry.

“It is appalling that it’s perfectly legal to sell kids makeup in this country contaminated with asbestos – a known human carcinogen,” Janet Nudelman, director of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, told The Guardian via email. “I don’t know what’s worse – asbestos in kids’ products or the fact that the FDA can’t do anything about it.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is undergoing risk evaluation studies regarding asbestos under the Toxic Substances Control Act, but cosmetics contamination is not an area the EPA is currently looking at.

“We have absolutely no idea how often asbestos is found in cosmetics containing talc,” Nudelman said.