Independent Tests Clear Makeup Sold at Claire’s Retail Stores of Asbestos Contamination

After initial reports of asbestos contamination in makeup product sold at Claire’s stores, the company moved quickly to have testing performed by independent laboratories. The resulting reports indicate no evidence of asbestos contamination in their products, allaying mesothelioma concerns for users of the makeup across the country.

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Johnson & Johnson Internal Documents Reveals Acceptable Baby Powder Asbestos Level

A Johnson & Johnson internal memo reveals that executives considered a 1% level of asbestos in their baby powder was acceptable because it was well below the level allowed for an asbestos miner at the time. This conflicts with their assertion that J&J baby powder never contained asbestos. The exposure of the memo has opened J&J up to a new round of law suits.

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Wildfire Smoke Causing Lingering Health Issues

Researchers in Missoula County, Montana are gathering data about how the worst wildfire season on record affected county residents.  Emergency room visits and other respiratory issues increased dramatically after a month long series of wildfires enveloped the area in a smokey haze.

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EPA Ordered to Take Action on Protecting Children from Lead Based Paint

A federal appeals court is ordering the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take action within 90 days to revise standards meant to protect children from lead-based paint. The San Francisco-based Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled Wednesday that the EPA has taken too long to act on a 2009 petition from health and environmental groups who want the agency to further restrict lead paint limitations. The judges issued a “writ of mandamus,” a rare edict from a federal court that requires a litigant to take action.

The EPA told the court that it would take another six years to develop a lead paint rule, which the judges did not accept. “EPA fails to identify a single case where a court has upheld an eight year delay as reasonable, let alone a fourteen year delay, if we take into account the six more years EPA asserts it needs to take action,” Judge Mary Schroeder, nominated by former President Carter, wrote on behalf of herself and Judge Randy Smith, a George W. Bush nominee. The judges said the EPA also has an unambiguous duty to act. Scientific studies point toward a higher danger to children from lead paint than when Congress developed standards in the 1990s, studies that the EPA did not dispute.

“Under the [Toxic Substances Control Act] and the Paint Hazard Act, Congress set EPA a task, authorized EPA to engage in rulemaking to accomplish that task, and set up a framework for EPA to amend initial rules and standards in light of new information,” the judges said. “The new information is clear in this record: the current standards for dust-lead hazard and lead-based paint hazard are insufficient to accomplish Congress’s goal.”

An EPA spokesman said the agency would review the Wednesday ruling, and pledged that officials would “continue to work diligently on a number of fronts to address issues surrounding childhood lead exposure from multiple sources.” The EPA has declared lead poisoning to be the greatest environmental hazard to children under age six. The agency agreed in 2009 to accept public comments on the lead petition and to initiate a rule-making, but did not set a time period for the rule-making. The judges ordered the EPA to propose a new rule within 90 days and make a final rule within a year after that.

10 Tips for a Clean Christmas

If you have red, watery eyes, an itchy nose or can’t stop sneezing over the next few weeks, the holidays may be to blame. Don’t laugh. Apparently, “Christmas tree syndrome” is real and is caused by mold, pollen, dust, mites and other irritants that hitch a ride home on your Christmas tree or lay in wait with the decorations you stored last year. “There’s a number of ‘cutely’ named phenomenon that occur – there’s thunderstorm asthma, back-to-school rashes. We have these clinical observations that come from what’s going on in the environment,” said Patricia Lugar, a specialist in allergy and immunology at Duke University School of Medicine.

The risk can be especially high for those with allergies, asthma and other respiratory problems. Damp environments, like crawl spaces, attics and basements found in the Southeast, can make the problem worse, she said, especially for allergy shot patients. “We generally counsel people, particularly allergy shot patients, if you’ve been digging around in the crawlspace or the basement or your attic, wait 24 to 48 hours before you come to get your shot and let things settle down, just to make sure you’re not going to have a problem,” she said. Cardboard and paper boxes can cause the biggest problem, she said.

“Paper boxes are a great recipe for insects, they are a great recipe to become damp and hold dampness, become moldy. Plastic is really the way to go. Just get a bunch of those big plastic bins. They can seal out insects and cockroaches, and they’re also really resistant to moisture.” Don’t be afraid to throw out something either, especially if there is visible moisture damage, discoloration or a musty smell, she said. “The last thing you want to do is open up this incubator of mold spores, and it all goes into your face or you release it into the air, because it’s been sealed in this plastic box,” she said.


  • Use a damp cloth to wipe your decorations when removing them from storage
  • Avoid scented sprays, candles and other decorations
  • Stick with metal and plastic ornaments, and give them a warm, soapy bath, then air dry
  • Protect fabric decorations or heirlooms by keeping them in a plastic, vacuum storage-type bag
  • Store decorations and artificial trees in plastic bags or bins, not cardboard
  • Wear a long-sleeve shirt, gloves and – for especially sensitive people – an N95-rated dust mask to handle the tree or dig through storage
  • Remove visible pollen from the tree with a leaf blower
  • Wipe the tree’s trunk with a solution of 1 part bleach to 20 parts lukewarm water
  • Spray the tree with water and let it dry in an enclosed area outside the home, such as a garage, to dry
  • Ditch the poinsettia; it belongs to the rubber family and contains compounds similar to those in latex

Asbestos – Out of Site, Out of Mind?


Out of sight, out of mind, right? Well, that’s not the case for a major insurance provider that is now dropping clients because of a policy change regarding asbestos. A homeowner came to 7news with a letter stating their Allstate homeowner’s insurance policy is being canceled.

The siding of the home is made of asbestos, a popular insulation material used before it was outlawed in 1980 because exposure can be dangerous, often leading to lung cancer and mesothelioma. President of Lyons Insurance, Stephen Lyons, says about 20% of homes in the area have asbestos due to older construction. “Whether it be the siding, the roofing, the floor even the commercial spaces, some still have asbestos,” said Lyons. He says there are a lot of factors to determine the risk of an older home, but asbestos is one that is harder to assume for some major providers.

“Removal or remediation of asbestos is very expensive,” said Lyons. “There can also be lawsuits from the contamination or the physical damage of the removal of asbestos.” It’s not just Allstate. Lyons says many carriers are being selective in this area and it may be because we can be exposed to asbestos easier. “Number one there’s the wind risk factor, number two there’s the water risk factor,” said Lyons.

So, insurance companies may be more willing to write up policies for newer homes rather than take a bigger risk on an older one. Lyons says there are a few options for homeowners with asbestos. You can either get rid of it, or find a policy and provider that will assume the higher risk. We reached out to Allstate and are awaiting a response.

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