Hema to court for EenVandaag item about asbestos in make-up: ‘Not true, we don’t take any risks!’ | Economy

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Research of current affairs program One today from 2019 has demonstrated asbestos in make-up products from the Douglas and Hema perfumery. Independent laboratories at home and abroad have found traces of the potentially carcinogenic substance. Hema and Douglas had the cosmetics tested themselves and denied that their products contain the dangerous mineral. ‘Not true! We are Hema and do not take any risks’. In summary proceedings, the company is now demanding rectification.




Commissioned by One today and the Asbestos and Fibers Expertise Center, various brands of cosmetics were tested at the Nomacon asbestos laboratory in Vianen. The reason for this was the 2018 investigation by the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority and the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate into asbestos in make-up, when low concentrations of the substance were found in two products of the Claire’s brand.

The EenVandaag research showed asbestos traces in the two cosmetic products – My Cheek Palette Blush (Douglas) and BAE loose powder foundation 2nd skin (Hema). Those asbestos fibers can be released when using the face powders. After the positive test, the products were tested again in the labs of the Dutch SGS Search and Scientific Analytical Institute in the United States, ‘so as not to go ice overnight’.

Own research


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These types of products are constantly under a magnifying glass and are constantly tested

Frederike van Urk, Hema

The presence of asbestos was demonstrated in all three analyzes. Confronted with the results, both Hema and Douglas removed the products from the shelves and commissioned their own research. Hema did this at TNO, Douglas and the raw material supplier at Wesseling, Germany. Both institutes did not find any asbestos in the cosmetics, after which the make-up went back into the store.

,,Then One today came out with the results a year ago, we took the products directly from the stores, ” says Hema spokesperson Frederike van Urk, who says he has literally been awake. The company immediately had its own analyzes carried out. “Products of this kind are constantly under a magnifying glass and are constantly being tested.” TNO, NVWA and RIVM were called in.

‘No risk’

“Hema does not take any risks,” says Van Urk, clearly agitated. “These kinds of products smear people on their faces, do you really think that we put something on the shelves that could make people sick!” Our own research therefore focused not only on the aforementioned cosmetics, but also on all raw materials. TNO’s analysis did not reveal any asbestos.

When asked, experts say that the various research methods used can explain the different outcomes. It is also possible that the asbestos – which occurs in six different forms in nature – was ‘uneven’ in the product. Some samples offered would therefore contain traces of the mineral and others would not.

Not the right equipment

Van Urk has a different lecture and says the research of One today was not sufficient. TNO’s would be. “The research has three phases,” she says. “It through One today The lab that was called in did not get beyond two and does not have the right equipment to tell the difference between the extremely small asbestos and talc particles. ” Convinced of the TNO outcome, the foundation went on sale again.

Between Hema and One today There was a dispute about the broadcast of the news item, whereby the broadcast ended up on the shelf twice, Van Urk claims. “We haven’t heard anything for months until July, when they said they wanted to broadcast it anyway.” “Monday, both parties were in court. “We may not be able to stop the broadcast, but our lawyers are hard at work.”

Hema has announced that it will initiate summary proceedings against One today and demands rectification of the article that appeared online in advance of the broadcast. The case will be brought to the Amsterdam court this afternoon at 3.30 pm. “According to TNO, innocent tallow fibers have been mistakenly mistaken for asbestos fibers by the ‘EenVandaag laboratories'”, HEMA said in a statement.

Good journalism

Asbestos, here under a microscope, occurs in nature in six forms. © Shutterstock

One todayeditor-in-chief René van Brakel says that there was no question of ‘tug of war’, but rather ‘good journalism’. All research results were shared with Hema and Douglas, according to Van Brakel, and the companies were also given time to respond. The outbreak of the coronavirus, as in the rest of the world, has shifted attention in recent months.

However, the last research into the make-up dates back to a month ago and took place at an asbestos research accredited and specialized lab. “Asbestos was also found there,” said the editor-in-chief. The reason for the broadcast now is that the products are sold in unaltered form. How it is possible that the various research institutes come up with different results is unclear.

‘Small chance, but one chance’

The question arises as to whether the standards are correct and whether talc at all, with the risk of the presence of asbestos, should be in the make-up. Talc is mined in mines where asbestos (tremolite) is also present in the ground, which can cause natural contamination. A number of cosmetic manufacturers have already switched to other substances, but not all. Filtered talc is considered safe in the Netherlands.

“Make-up manufacturers must ensure that they market cosmetics without asbestos,” says Minister of Medical Care, Tamara van Ark. “Asbestos is prohibited by law.” Toxicologist Majorie van Duursen, of the University of Utrecht, stated that the risk of asbestos in make-up “is small, but exposure should be avoided. Lung cancer due to inhalation of asbestos in make-up is considered by Van Duursen as ‘unlikely’.

After the investigation in 2018, the RIVM also found that there is ‘a small chance’ of health damage, albeit in the long term. One today cites authoritative American professor Arthur Frank, an expert in the field of asbestos diseases, who explains that it can take 40 to 50 years before exposure to loose asbestos fibers leads to cancer. “A small chance, but certainly an opportunity.”

Perfumery Douglas was not yet available to comment on the findings.

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