Study finds asbestos in Claire’s makeup products marketed to teens

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NEW YORK (CBS) – Tests performed by a consumer watchdog group found asbestos in three products marketed to children by the makeup company Claire’s, several weeks after the company pulled products from shelves following customer complaints.

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), a non-profit group, says it commissioned tests of 15 makeup products containing talc from an “accredited laboratory,” including four from Claire’s. Three of the Claire’s products were found to contain “high levels of asbestos,” the group said. Talc is a material commonly found in makeup products and can be contaminated with asbestos, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

In a statement, Claire’s told CBS News it “categorically denies” the test results, calling the laboratory’s methods “obsolete and unreliable.” The company said it has conducted its own “extensive testing” and found “that Claire’s products are asbestos-free and comply with all relevant safety regulations.” PIRG said it stands by the testing procedure, calling Claire’s critiques “misinformed at best.”

The company added: “All our powder-based cosmetics use the same base formulation, utilizing Merck certified asbestos-free talc, which is the same talc used in other well-known cosmetic brands.”

In December, Claire’s pulled several items marketed to children from store shelves after independent lab tests found evidence of asbestos contamination. The company later said that initial tests of its own detected no asbestos in the products.

In an interview on CBSN Tuesday, U.S. PIRG president Faye Park said the group decided to do another round of testing because “we as consumers should be able to trust that the products that we buy are safe, especially those we’re giving to our kids and are specifically marketed to teenagers and pre-teens.”

She continued, “Given that we know that those products in December tested positive for asbestos, but Claire’s said that they weren’t, we thought it was prudent to go ahead and do some additional testing.”

Park said she recommends parents “play it safe and stay away from cosmetics that are powdery, shimmery or sparkly. Those are the products that tend to use talc as a main ingredient, and it’s the talc that can be contaminated with asbestos.”

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