Chain Says There is No Asbestos in Make-up
A few weeks after being accused of selling make-up that included traces of asbestos, a spokesperson for Claire’s Stores – which specializes in accessories and is popular with the tween crowd – says lab tests the company funded proves that all the make-up they sell is asbestos-free.
A December 22 report on a Rhode Island television news station was sparked by the operations director at a law firm in that state. The person in question, Kristi Warner, told reporters that she sent some of her daughter’s make-up – which she purchased at Claire’s – to a lab for testing after hearing about similar stories concerning low-priced make-up products geared towards young users.
She says the make-up tested positive for tremolite asbestos, which is toxic and could cause mesothelioma or other respiratory illnesses.
Warner works for a law firm that specializes in handling asbestos cases.
“In some of our cases, that has included cosmetic products,” Warner wrote in an email to the Los Angeles Times “Without my work experience, I don’t think it would have ever crossed my mind that my daughter’s play makeup could have asbestos in it. It was important to me that other parents be aware of the hazard.”
The law firm told the news station that it had collected 17 samples of Claire’s makeup from nine states and sent them to a North Carolina lab called Scientific Analytical Institute.
Sean Fitzgerald, the institute’s director of research and legal services, said all of the samples tested positive for tremolite asbestos. Tremolite is often found as a contaminate in chrysotile or “white” asbestos, which is still used in many countries where the make-up may have been manufactured, like China.
Claire’s disputes all the findings.
“We only learned of the claims after they went to the press,” Claire’s said. “We have made multiple requests for Mr. Fitzgerald’s detailed test data, but it has not been provided to us.
Mr. Fitzgerald also went to the press in July with claims that testing of cosmetics from Justice [another girls’ retailer] showed evidence of asbestos, which Justice refuted after analysis of a third-party testing lab.”
Nonetheless, to err on the side of caution, Claire’s pulled 9 products from it shelves and offered refunds to anyone who had already purchased those items.
When Fitzgerald approached Justice Stores, which sells clothing and accessories for the same age group, the company pulled its “Just Shine” shimmer powder off the shelves but later found that testing showed no signs of the toxic mineral.