More Info On Our Testing Methodology for Asbestos in Makeup

Media Contacts
Kara Cook-Schultz

U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Claire’s Stores Inc. incorrectly claims that our testing methods are unsound. Its accusations are misinformed at best, and seem to be designed to distract from the bottom-line: that Claire’s is selling makeup that contains asbestos to preteens.

Claire’s has previously claimed that its products are free of asbestos, despite evidence to the contrary. While we have been transparent about our testing methods and results, Claire’s does not provide its own test results, or explain its own testing methodology. On balance, it is clear that Claire’s is trying to confuse the facts. We know our testing used proper methodology. The independent laboratory that tested the samples used PLM and TEM methods, which are both recommended by the Talc Expert Panel that advises the FDA. They followed the procedures laid out by the Food & Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency for testing. The FDA lays out methodology for testing cosmetics for asbestos here:

The lab used two methods (both of which the lab is accredited for) and then re-tested their results of the TEM method:

  • PLM procedure: EPA Method EPA 600/R-93/116 “Method for the Determination of Asbestos in Bulk Building Materials.”
  • TEM procedure: EPA Method 40 CFR Part 763, Subpart E, Appendix A, “Interim Transmission Electron Microscopy Analytical Methods – Mandatory and Nonmandatory – and Mandatory section to Determine Completion of Response Actions.”

The lab we used is accredited by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology NVLAP program. The FDA uses a lab on this accredited list for their cosmetics testing for asbestos (AMA Analytical Services) and we used another lab on the list, STAT Analysis Corporation.

Claire’s makes three main incorrect claims:

  1. That we did not perform the PLM method, but only used the TEM method. In our report where we provide a copy of our results, you can see that the lab performed both the TEM and PLM tests.
  2. That STAT Analysis Corporation has not been certified to test for these type of products. To the contrary, their accreditation for testing asbestos is here: In fact, this certification is the same certification as the FDA’s lab for testing asbestos in talc.
  3. That the preparation procedures for the TEM method is outdated. This claim by Claire’s is not based on any literature, and is unsupported by the Talc Expert Panel.


We tested 15 different products, 12 of which tested negative for asbestos. Claire’s was the only company whose products were found to contain asbestos. Of the four products we tested from Claire’s, three of the four products tested positive for asbestos. One of the four products tested negative for asbestos. Our results show that only 20% of the products we tested contained asbestos. This further demonstrates that the testing procedures were fair, balanced, and independent.
Claire’s has had time to respond to our test results, to take these products off the shelves, and to inform consumers. Instead, only after the media contacted the company, Claire’s claimed that our testing methods are unsound (without giving any details about alternative testing methods), and Claire’s still is not taking these products off the shelves. When Claire’s was previously accused of selling makeup contaminated with asbestos, it pulled the products from the shelves. Based on our new test results, it should do the same now.