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Asbestos Contamination Found in More Claire's Cosmetics: New FDA Report

Health + Wellness
Asbestos Contamination Found in More Claire's Cosmetics: New FDA Report
A Claire's store in Waterbury, Connecticut. Mike Mozart / CC BY 2.0

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.

"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:

  1. Beauty Plus Global Contour Effects Palette 2, Batch No. S1603002/PD-C1179
  2. 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.

A net-casting ogre-faced spider. CBG Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics / CC BY-SA 3.0

Just in time for Halloween, scientists at Cornell University have published some frightening research, especially if you're an insect!

The ghoulishly named ogre-faced spider can "hear" with its legs and use that ability to catch insects flying behind it, the study published in Current Biology Thursday concluded.

"Spiders are sensitive to airborne sound," Cornell professor emeritus Dr. Charles Walcott, who was not involved with the study, told the Cornell Chronicle. "That's the big message really."

The net-casting, ogre-faced spider (Deinopis spinosa) has a unique hunting strategy, as study coauthor Cornell University postdoctoral researcher Jay Stafstrom explained in a video.

They hunt only at night using a special kind of web: an A-shaped frame made from non-sticky silk that supports a fuzzy rectangle that they hold with their front forelegs and use to trap prey.

They do this in two ways. In a maneuver called a "forward strike," they pounce down on prey moving beneath them on the ground. This is enabled by their large eyes — the biggest of any spider. These eyes give them 2,000 times the night vision that we have, Science explained.

But the spiders can also perform a move called the "backward strike," Stafstrom explained, in which they reach their legs behind them and catch insects flying through the air.

"So here comes a flying bug and somehow the spider gets information on the sound direction and its distance. The spiders time the 200-millisecond leap if the fly is within its capture zone – much like an over-the-shoulder catch. The spider gets its prey. They're accurate," coauthor Ronald Hoy, the D & D Joslovitz Merksamer Professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior in the College of Arts and Sciences, told the Cornell Chronicle.

What the researchers wanted to understand was how the spiders could tell what was moving behind them when they have no ears.

It isn't a question of peripheral vision. In a 2016 study, the same team blindfolded the spiders and sent them out to hunt, Science explained. This prevented the spiders from making their forward strikes, but they were still able to catch prey using the backwards strike. The researchers thought the spiders were "hearing" their prey with the sensors on the tips of their legs. All spiders have these sensors, but scientists had previously thought they were only able to detect vibrations through surfaces, not sounds in the air.

To test how well the ogre-faced spiders could actually hear, the researchers conducted a two-part experiment.

First, they inserted electrodes into removed spider legs and into the brains of intact spiders. They put the spiders and the legs into a vibration-proof booth and played sounds from two meters (approximately 6.5 feet) away. The spiders and the legs responded to sounds from 100 hertz to 10,000 hertz.

Next, they played the five sounds that had triggered the biggest response to 25 spiders in the wild and 51 spiders in the lab. More than half the spiders did the "backward strike" move when they heard sounds that have a lower frequency similar to insect wing beats. When the higher frequency sounds were played, the spiders did not move. This suggests the higher frequencies may mimic the sounds of predators like birds.

University of Cincinnati spider behavioral ecologist George Uetz told Science that the results were a "surprise" that indicated science has much to learn about spiders as a whole. Because all spiders have these receptors on their legs, it is possible that all spiders can hear. This theory was first put forward by Walcott 60 years ago, but was dismissed at the time, according to the Cornell Chronicle. But studies of other spiders have turned up further evidence since. A 2016 study found that a kind of jumping spider can pick up sonic vibrations in the air.

"We don't know diddly about spiders," Uetz told Science. "They are much more complex than people ever thought they were."

Learning more provides scientists with an opportunity to study their sensory abilities in order to improve technology like bio-sensors, directional microphones and visual processing algorithms, Stafstrom told CNN.

Hoy agreed.

"The point is any understudied, underappreciated group has fascinating lives, even a yucky spider, and we can learn something from it," he told CNN.

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