Claire’s says two independent labs confirm its cosmetics are asbestos-free

TORONTO — The Claire’s fashion and accessory business said Friday that test results from two certified independent labs show that nine controversial cosmetic products pulled from its stores are asbestos-free and completely safe.

The Chicago-area company also said that it disputes the findings and testing methods of the researcher who said last month that asbestos had been found in samples of cosmetics for girls sold by Claire’s.

“Any report that suggests that the products are not safe is totally false,” the company said in an emailed statement.

Claire’s had previously indicated that the talc used in the cosmetic products had tested asbestos-free but went further Friday. The company said it had provided Health Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration with the certificates of analysis provided by Merck KGaA, which supplied the talc ingredient used in the cosmetics.

It also said it plans to share with those agencies the results of the testing being conducted by the independent labs.

Asbestos is a mineral used in construction materials and automotive parts to make them stronger and fire-resistant. But asbestos fibres can pose a risk of lung cancer and other diseases if breathed into the lungs.

Health Canada said last week that it had asked to see data from the tests done for Claire’s Stores Inc. and received assurances that the subject cosmetics were pulled from Canadian locations as of Dec. 22.

The FDA’s Twitter feed for cosmetics said on Tuesday that it was aware of the withdrawal of the Claire’s cosmetic products and was looking into it. But it advised consumers to follow the company’s instructions.

As of Friday afternoon, there was no update from either Health Canada or the FDA.

The controversy over the Claire’s cosmetics began after a woman, who works at a Rhode Island law firm that specializes in asbestos litigation, told a local TV station that her daughter’s cosmetics from Claire’s had tested positive.

Kristiana Warner told WPRI-TV in Providence, R.I., that the discovery of asbestos in one product was later supported by results from 17 samples from several locations.

Claire’s later narrowed the focus of its own investigation to nine products but said Friday that “we dispute the findings and testing methods of Sean Fitzgerald, the director of research and analytical services for Scientific Analytical Institute, which was asked to do the testing by a personal injury law firm.”

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