Just last week, on Christmas morning, children across the country excitedly tore open their Christmas gifts revealing toys, electronics, and items from their wish list. For parents that may have included a number of glittery and bedazzled makeup kits from popular retailer Claire’s, the days that have followed have been filled with outrage, anger, and disgust.
After purchasing one such makeup kit Rhode Island mother Kristi Warner was concerned about the ingredients that it may have contained. Working for the Deaton Law Firm in East Providence, she was well aware of the risks of potential contaminants in cosmetics used by all ages and wanted to be safe before allowing her 6-year old daughter to use the product. Packaging up the kit, she sent it to an independent lab in North Carolina for in-depth testing.
When the lab contacted her with the results she was both shocked and appalled. The test results revealed that the makeup contained tremolite asbestos, a fatal, toxic, cancer-causing material. Acknowledging that this could be a much bigger problem with a wide-spread impact Warner, along with her boss John Deaton, purchased 17 different kits from 9 different states, sending them all to be tested for the contaminant. The results? Sean Fitzgerald of the Scientific Analytical Institute, the scientist responsible for carrying out the testing, discovered the tremolite asbestos in every product tested.
Warner and Deaton spoke with WJAR-TV, looking for the media’s assistance in sharing the frightening results with other parents. Warned stated, “The fact that the majority of the products came from the store shelves in the last two weeks means that there are other children being exposed.”
In response to the test results, Claire’s issued the following statement on December 22nd:
“At Claire’s the safety of our customers is of paramount importance, and we are passionate about the safety and integrity of our products. We work closely with our vendors to ensure our products are tested and assessed in line with the relevant country regulations and guidelines.
As a result of today’s inquiry from WJAR-TV, we have taken the precautionary measure of pulling the items in question from sale, and will be conducting an immediate investigation into the alleged issues. Once we have more information and have the results of the investigation we will take the necessary action.”
They then released the following updates, on December 27th: “We have retained an independent laboratory to test the cited products in order to determined whether the recent news reports are accurate. In the interim, we have stopped sales of the products and are issuing full refunds to concerned customers. As always, the safety of our customers and products is our top priority.”
And on December 29th: “the initial results of testing by an independent certified laboratory show that the cosmetics tested to date are asbestos free. Out of an abundance of caution, additional testing is underway. We have also confirmed that the talcum ingredient supply is from a certified asbestos free European vendor. We will continue to honor returns for any customers remaining uncomfortable.”
Many parents took to Twitter to express their outrage with the situation. While the recent update may claim that the products are asbestos free, their investigation isn’t enough to assure a great number of concerned parents that these products are, in fact, safe for their children to use. After all, for this claim to be true Warner and Denton would have had to purchase the only 17 affected products across the country. Many call for further independent investigation, while others are already demanding a class action lawsuit.