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Claire’s, the popular accessories store, has recalled three cosmetic items that the FDA reports contain asbestos, a mineral known to spur lethal cancers.
While the company believes the FDA’s findings are inaccurate, they have rescinded eye shadow, compact powder, and contour powder products. Claire’s also gave customers the option of returning these items for a full refund.
“Every day millions of Americans assume the cosmetics they use are safe, but unfortunately that is not always the case,” Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr., who requested an investigation of these products, said in a statement. “The reality is that cosmetics are one of the least regulated consumer products on the market.”
So how safe are beauty products, really, especially for Latinos?
Latinos and Cosmetics
This issue affects Latinos more than any other demographic.
Cosmetic spending among Latino men and women has been on the rise since 2015. Latinas specifically spend 4% more on beauty care products, including cosmetics, than their white peers, according to The Neilson Company.
Moreover, consumer polls show that the Latino community purchases makeup items more frequently than their peers:
- Buying makeup items daily
- Buying makeup items several times per week
- Latino: 14%
- White: 5%
- Black: 10%
- Asian: 11%
- Buying makeup items several times per month
- Latino: 31%
- White: 22%
- Black: 29%
- Asian: 16%
As purchases of beauty care items continue to rise in this community, Latinos need more information about what chemicals are in the products they use — especially if those merchandises contain cancer-causing minerals.
Alarming FDA Test Results
The FDA’s report, published last week, outlines the methods and conclusions in the testing of Claire’s products.
The primary cause for concern is asbestos. This mineral is used to resist different forms of corrosion and as an insulator, making products stronger.
Historically, construction materials, home insulation, and talcum powder-based items all contained asbestos. It wasn’t until studies began to show the adverse, latent side effects from exposure, including forms of cancer, that the product was deemed unsafe.
The tests, conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and AMA Analytical Services, Inc. on behalf of FDA, showed positive asbestos results, which means users faced exposed to the mineral.
However, Claire’s released a statement that did wholeheartedly agree with the FDA’s results.
Still, the company did take those cosmetics off the shelves to have them destroyed. Last year, the company began manufacturing talc-free products.
“At Claire’s, customer safety is our first priority. Last year, we switched to talc-free manufacturing of our cosmetics,” Claire’s statement reads. “We are taking these actions out of an abundance of caution and remain confident that any products purchased at Claire’s are safe.”
The FDA said they are currently unaware of any adverse effects from the use of Claire’s products. However, anyone with knowledge of such incidences can file a report through their MedWatch Voluntary Report form.
One Part of a Larger Issue
Studies show year after year manufactured items contain chemicals that harm consumers.
Governmental agencies, state regulators, and activist groups are talking about and acting to ensure the products we buy, such as those in Claire’s, are safe.
“We need to modernize cosmetics regulation in the United States,” Dr. Steve Xu, a board-certified dermatologist and instructor in the department of dermatology at Northwestern University, told Healthline. “While the vast majority of manufacturers operate at a high level of production excellence, we don’t go very long before there’s another public health scare from cosmetics.”
Fortunately, Latinos can speak up by giving public comment on urging officials to ensure safety.
California lawmakers are aiming to ban harmful chemicals found in nail-care products. Latinos make up 4% of the salon industry and face exposure to substances linked to pregnancy development problems — comment to urge regulation.
Skin cancer has risen by 20% over the past 20 years. The EPA is taking public comment concerning dangerous chemicals in sunscreen. Tell them why you need to be able to trust the UV ray protection products on the market.
Learn more about toxic exposure and your health!
Editor’s Note: This article is part of a collaboration between Salud America! and the Hoffman Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT) program at UT Health- San Antonio. To find out if you are TILTed due to exposure to everyday foods, chemicals, or drugs, take a self-assessment or learn more about TILT.