Asbestos Contamination Found in More Claire's Cosmetics: New FDA Report
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found more asbestos in make-up sold at Claire's, an accessory store geared towards young teenagers.
The store voluntarily recalled its Claire's JoJo Siwa Makeup Set after FDA testing turned up traces of the cancer-causing material, the agency announced Thursday. Beauty Plus Global also recalled its Beauty Plus Global Contour Effects Palette 2 for the same reason.
Today, the FDA is releasing new results from its continued testing of cosmetic products for asbestos & is warning consumers to not use 2 additional products that have tested positive for asbestos & have been recalled https://t.co/p4AACHd9y8 pic.twitter.com/DYtSelENEj— U.S. FDA (@US_FDA) June 6, 2019
"Claire's Stores, Inc. has voluntarily recalled the JoJo Cosmetic Kit out of an abundance of caution after testing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration indicated the possible presence of trace amounts of asbestos fibers in the powder eyeshadow element of the kit," a company spokesperson told TODAY Style.
The FDA gave the full product details of both cosmetics and urged anyone who owned them to stop using them. They are:
- Beauty Plus Global Contour Effects Palette 2, Batch No. S1603002/PD-C1179
- Claire's JoJo Siwa Makeup Set, SKU #888711136337, Batch/Lot No. S180109
The news comes three months after the FDA warned customers to avoid three Claire's products that had also tested positive for asbestos. The alarm was first raised about the company's make-up in 2017, when a Rhode Island mother had her daughter's make-up kit tested for asbestos. The results prompted the store to recall 17 products.
Personal care products can become contaminated with asbestos because the mineral occurs next to talc, a common cosmetics ingredient. Asbestos can end up mixed in with the talc if the talc is not mined carefully. A similar problem occurred with Johnson & Johnson's talcum baby-powder, something the company knew about and covered up for decades.
In its statement to Today Style, Clarie's said its products were safe and that it had taken steps to avoid future contamination.
"Claire's stands behind the safety of this item and all other Claire's cosmetic items, as such small trace amounts are considered acceptable under European and Canadian cosmetic safety regulations," a spokesperson told Today Style. "In addition, last year Claire's moved to talc-free cosmetic manufacturing to prevent any further concerns about talc contamination. Claire's also supports increased FDA oversight of personal care products. We will provide a full refund to any customers who purchased the product."
The incidents have prompted lawmakers to call for better labeling for cosmetic products. After the March discovery of asbestos in Clarie's make-up, Michigan Democratic Representative Debbie Dingell and Illinois Democratic Representative Jan Schakowsky introduced legislation requiring that all make-up marketed to children come with a warning if it had not been tested for asbestos, Michigan Advance reported.
"Asbestos in children's cosmetics is simply unacceptable. It is so basic we shouldn't need legislation to ban it but we do," Dingell said in a Friday statement reported by Michigan Advance. "Yet again, retailers like Claire's and Beauty Plus are removing products from their shelves after asbestos was found in their cosmetics. This so despicable; all of us need to be outraged. Congress must pass strong legislation so all cosmetics – especially cosmetics marketed toward children – contain proper warning labels alerting people of dangerous toxins."
The law governing FDA oversight of cosmetics has not been updated since 1938, and does not require that the agency test cosmetics before they are sold to customers. Democratic California Senator Dianne Feinstein and Republican Maine Senator Susan Collins have introduced the Personal Care Product Safety Act to strengthen the FDA's regulation of cosmetics and empower it to recall make-up products that it considers unsafe.
Asbestos itself is not fully banned in the U.S. The most recent regulation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires companies to get EPA approval before manufacturing or importing asbestos for any of 15 discontinued uses as well as any new use. Public health advocates have warned that the rule could actually open the door to more future uses of the material that kills between 12,000 and 39,275 Americans a year.
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It's going to be back-to-school time soon, but will children go into the classrooms?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) thinks so, but only as long as safety measures are in place.
Keeping Schools Safe<p>What will safer schools look like?</p><p>In a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2766822" target="_blank">JAMA article</a> published last month, <a href="https://www.jhsph.edu/faculty/directory/profile/1781/joshua-m-sharfstein" target="_blank">Dr. Joshua Sharfstein</a>, a pediatrician and professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, outlined suggestions — many of which are similar to AAP's.</p><p>Remote learning protocols must stay in place, especially as some schools stagger home and in-building learning. If another shutdown needs to occur, children will rely on distance learning completely, so it must be easy to switch to, he said.</p><p>He suggested giving parents a daily checklist to document their child's health. Kids should be screened quickly on arrival and be given hygiene supplies. Maintenance staff should use appropriate PPE and have regular cleaning schedules. A notification system should be in place if a case is identified, Sharfstein recommended.</p><p><a href="https://www.albany.edu/rockefeller/faculty/erika-martin" target="_blank">Erika Martin</a>, PhD, an associate professor of public administration and policy at University at Albany, said nutrition assistance and health services should be included. She called for tutoring programs with virtual options as well as technology access.</p>
Supporting Staff<p>Teachers and staff will be affected by safeguarding measures, noted <a href="https://directory.sph.umn.edu/bio/sph-a-z/rachel-widome" target="_blank">Rachel Widome</a>, PhD, an associate professor of epidemiology and community health at University of Minnesota.</p><p>"In order for all of the in-school precautions to work well, we'll be asking a lot of teachers and staff," Widome told Healthline. In addition to their usual workload, they'll now be asked to monitor mask-wearing, ensure children are keeping distance, and be aware of any symptoms.</p><p>Along with Sharfstein, Widome called for an increase in financial support. More employees will likely be required so teachers and staff members can keep up with the added demands.</p>
Should Kids Go Back?<p>While these guidelines may help get some schools to reopen, many people don't think children should go back to school over fears they could contract the disease and spread it to other vulnerable family members like grandparents, infant siblings, or their parents.</p><p>In a <a href="https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2020/07/08/peds.2020-004879" target="_blank">Pediatrics</a> commentary, <a href="https://www.md.com/doctor/william-raszka-md" target="_blank">Dr. William V. Raszka, Jr.</a>, an infectious disease specialist at The University of Vermont Medical Center, argued that schools should open because school-aged children are far less important drivers of COVID-19 than adults.</p><p>But he says the risk and benefit is not equal among all students ages 5 to 18.</p><p>"Elementary schools are arguably higher priority for face-to-face schooling, since younger children are at lower risk for infection and transmission, and since parental supervision of younger children's distance learning may be particularly challenging," added Sorensen, who penned a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/channels/health-forum/fullarticle/2767411" target="_blank">June article in JAMA</a> with reopening tips. "That means middle and high schools are more likely to emphasize distance learning."</p><p>Specific student populations, such as special education students and students with disabilities, would also benefit greatly from more time spent in face-to-face environments, Sorensen said.</p>
What Parents Can Do<p>Parents should ask for and receive frequent updates from schools about plans for the fall. They should also be informed about plans if and when COVID infections are identified, Sharfstein said.</p><p>"I'd like to see parents investing now, during the summer, in doing things that can slow and stop the spread of the virus in their communities," Widome said.</p><p>"Now is a good time for kids to practice wearing masks and get used to them as they may be wearing them for longer stretches if school starts up in person," Widome suggested.</p><p>She recommends parents try different mask designs and materials to see what children are more comfortable wearing.</p><p>"If you are using cloth face coverings, it's good to have extras on hand," Widome added.</p><p>Parents should model healthy behavior at home and while out in public — another thing that could affect how well children adapt to reopening practices, Sorensen said.</p><p>"Children may want to know more about face coverings," added <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/leescott/" target="_blank">Lee Scott</a>, chairwoman of the Educational Advisory Board at <a href="https://www.goddardschool.com/" target="_blank">The Goddard School</a>. "Dramatic play, such as creating or wearing a face covering, may help some children adjust to this concept." Schools can also show children photos of what faculty members look like in their masks so the students are familiar with that appearance.</p><p>Johns Hopkins University recently released its eSchool+ Initiative, a slew of resources surrounding education during the pandemic. These include a <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-checklist/" target="_blank">checklist for administrators</a>, report on <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/ethics-of-reopening/" target="_blank">ethical considerations</a>, and a tracker of <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-policy-tracker/" target="_blank">state and local reopening plans</a>.</p>
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