03.15.19

Murray Demands Answers from Claire’s Stores After Food and Drug Administration Confirms Presence of Asbestos

Murray writes to CEO of Claire’s after FDA announcement last week confirming presence of asbestos in some Claire’s products

 

Claire’s has issued a recall of three cosmetics products since FDA’s announcement

 

Claire’s customers are mainly teens, tweens, and children, and the company serves approximately 900 million women and girls across the globe

 

Murray: “Claire’s top priority should be ensuring the safety of its products, especially as a retailer that primarily sells products to teenagers and children.”

 

(Washington, D.C.) –Yesterday, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, sent a letter to Ron Marshall, Chief Executive Officer of Claire’s Stores, following the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) announcement last week that it had confirmed the presence of asbestos in Claire’s products.

 

“I am writing to request information related to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) deeply concerning announcement last week that it had confirmed the presence of asbestos in certain Claire’s cosmetics products. Claire’s removed the cosmetics that tested positive for asbestos, and any remaining talc-based products, from its shelves, and it has now recalled the three products that tested positive for asbestos. I am writing to understand more about the possible sources of asbestos contamination, and the process and procedures Claire’s takes to assess the safety of its products before they reach customers. Claire’s top priority should be ensuring the safety of its products, especially as a retailer that primarily sells products to teenagers and children,” wrote Senator Murray.

 

Senator Murray also recently wrote to Johnson & Johnson demanding information in light of recent reporting from Reuters indicating the company knew for decades about tests identifying the presence of asbestos in its baby powder. Johnson & Johnson is facing more than 13,000 lawsuits concerning its talc-related products.

 

The full text of the letter is below and the PDF can be found HERE.

 

March 14, 2019

 

Mr. Ron Marshall

Chief Executive Officer

Claire’s Stores, Inc.

3 S.W. 129th Avenue

Pembroke Pines, FL 33027


Dear Mr. Marshall:

 

I am writing to request information related to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) deeply concerning announcement last week that it had confirmed the presence of asbestos in certain Claire’s cosmetics products.  Claire’s removed the cosmetics that tested positive for asbestos, and any remaining talc-based products, from its shelves, and it has now recalled the three products that tested positive for asbestos. I am writing to understand more about the possible sources of asbestos contamination, and the process and procedures Claire’s takes to assess the safety of its products before they reach customers. Claire’s top priority should be ensuring the safety of its products, especially as a retailer that primarily sells products to teenagers and children.

 

Claire’s customers are mainly teens, tweens, and children, and the company serves approximately 900 million female customers across the globe.[1]  In 2017, through routine testing of cosmetic products, FDA became aware of asbestos contamination in some of Claire’s products.[2]  In December 2017, Claire’s removed eight cosmetics products from its stores, but did not issue a product recall.  FDA conducted additional testing of the products they initially identified as contaminated, and confirmed the presence of asbestos in three Claire’s cosmetics products:  Claire’s Eye Shadows – Batch No/Lot No: 08/17; Claire’s Compact Powder – Batch No/Lot No: 07/15; and Claire’s Contour Palette – Batch No/Lot No: 04/17.  On March 5, 2019, FDA announced it had requested that Claire’s recall these three products, and the agency issued a safety alert warning customers not to use the products.[3]  On March 12, 2019, Claire’s announced a voluntary recall of the three cosmetics products.[4]

 

The federal government, as well as the World Health Organization, have made clear that there is no safe level of asbestos exposure, and that small levels of exposure can result in cancer.[5] Following a report from Reuters that Johnson & Johnson raw talc and finished powders have tested positive for asbestos, I wrote to the company to request more information about the safety of its products, and how it presented any testing and safety material to regulators and consumers.[6]  FDA’s announcement that three of Claire’s cosmetic products contain asbestos raises similar questions about the source of asbestos contamination and concerns about the safety of its products.  To that end, please provide the following documents and information by no later than March 29, 2019:

 

  1. All documentation from internal testing, testing conducted for Claire’s by outside consultants, or testing conducted for Claire’s by testing entities that identified asbestos in any form of talc in Claire’s products.

 

  1. All communications with FDA regarding the safety of Claire’s cosmetics products, dating from 2014 to present, including:
    1. A copy of the adverse events reports submitted to FDA associated with Claire’s Eye Shadows – Batch No/Lot No: 08/17, Claire’s Compact Powder – Batch No/Lot No: 07/15, and Claire’s Contour Palette – Batch No/Lot No: 04/17
    2. The number of adverse event reports submitted to FDA associated with any other product that contains talc.

 

  1. A detailed description of the development and testing processes undertaken by Claire’s before cosmetics products containing talc become available for public sale, including:
    1. The percent of all products sold by Claire’s that are tested for asbestos or other contaminants.
    2. The specific testing methodology used by Claire’s to confirm the absence of asbestos contamination in its products.

 

  1. Information on the sources of talc contained in Claire’s products, including:
    1. A list of the manufacturers of talc used in Claire’s products, including both raw talc and finished products.
    2. The source of talc contained in Claire’s Eye Shadows – Batch No/Lot No: 08/17, Claire’s Compact Powder – Batch No/Lot No: 07/15, and Claire’s Contour Palette – Batch No/Lot No: 04/17.
    3. All communications with talc manufacturers related to the safety of the talc supplied for Claire’s cosmetics products, dating from 2014 to present.

 

Thank you in advance for you attention to this matter.  If you have any questions, or would like to further discuss compliance with this request, please contact Elizabeth Letter or Carly Rush with Senator Murray’s HELP Committee Staff at 202-224-0767.

 

Sincerely,

 

Patty Murray

United States Senator

Ranking Member, Senate Committee on

Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

 

 

cc:       The Honorable Lamar Alexander

            United States Senator

            Chairman, Senate Committee on

            Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

 

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[1] http://www.clairestores.com/company-profile/company-overview

[2] https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm632736.htm

[3] https://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ComplianceEnforcement/RecallsAlerts/ucm632681.htm

[4] https://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm633237.htm?utm_campaign=Claire%E2%80%99s%20Stores%2C%20Inc.%2C%20Announces%20Voluntary%20Recall%20of%20Three%20Make-Up%20Products&utm

[5] https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/materials/asbestos_508.pdf;  https://www.who.int/occupational_health/publications/draft.WHO.policy.paper.on.asbestos.related.diseases.pdf

[6] Letter from Senator Patty Murray, Ranking Member, Senate HELP Committee, to Mr. Alex Gorsky, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Johnson &Johnson (Jan. 28, 2019).