Asbestos-containing cosmetics: Officials reveal products were manufactured in China, not Taiwan

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Taiwan’s FDA has confirmed that asbestos-tainted Claire’s cosmetics were produced in China, not Taiwan. ©GettyImages
Taiwan’s FDA has confirmed that asbestos-tainted Claire’s cosmetics were produced in China, not Taiwan. ©GettyImages
Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has confirmed that asbestos-tainted Claire’s cosmetics were produced in China, and not in Taiwan as previously reported.

 ​Its counterparts in the US and Canada originally informed the authority that five contaminated cosmetics products by Claire’s Stores Inc. and Beauty Plus Global Inc were made by a company based in the Taiwanese municipality of Tainan.

Company refutes allegations

Tainan’s Public Health Bureau conducted further investigation into the Taiwanese company.

However, the company in question denied producing one of the products and said it had commissioned a Chinese company to produce the other four.

It argued that standards in China were different from European and North American standards and the raw materials used had passed inspection in China.

According to Tainan health officials, the cosmetics were sold mainly to American and European distributors. Although production stopped in 2017, the tainted products may still be circulating in the market as they have yet to expire.

FDA specialist Huang Wei-sheng told local media outlet Focus Taiwan ​that since asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral, it was possible for these beauty products to contain it.

The FDA noted that the company was instructed to remove the suspected products off the shelves.

It added that it would investigate further into the matter in order to determine if the products were on sale in the local market.

While officials were unable to find any samples of the suspected products available for inspection at the plant, the FDA has tasked Tainan’s Public Health Bureau to perform tests on 12 similar products as well.

Under Taiwan’s Cosmetic Hygiene and Safety Act, companies found guilty of producing adulterated products can be fined NT$20,000 ($644) to NT$5m ($161,012), with the possibility of consecutive fines.

In severe cases, the operating license of the cosmetics brand or manufacturer will be suspended up to a year or have it completely revoked.

New testing methods

In order to ensure “the construction of a safe cosmetics environment”​, the FDA said it has been actively developing testing methods to detect asbestos in cosmetics.

According to the authority, there is currently “no officially sanctioned international asbestos detection method of cosmetics”​, despite the many doubts about asbestos.

Currently, it uses established methods that comply with international standards to detect the compound in cosmetics.

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