Kristi Warner works at a law firm that focuses on mass tort asbestos litigation, which means she is all too familiar with asbestos exposure and the damage it can cause. After purchasing a glittery makeup kit for her six-year-old daughter from popular accessories retailer Claire’s, she began to have some doubts about it. She sent the makeup to an independent lab for peace of mind, and their finding shocked her: It contained the cancer-causing tremolite asbestos. The National Cancer Institute says that this substance can cause malignant mesothelioma.
Warner said the findings prompted her to test other makeup sold at Claire’s. All of the 17 makeup products she sent to the Scientific Analytical Institute from nine different states tested positive for asbestos. Affected items include a bedazzled rainbow heart makeup kit and metallic hot pink makeup with glitter.
Claire’s pulled the toxic items off its shelves and carried out its own testing. The retailer says that initial results from its own tests found the cosmetics to be free of asbestos but that further tests would be conducted. In addition, they said the talc in the product comes from a European vendor that has been certified asbestos-free. In the meantime, they are offering returns for those who feel uncomfortable.
The lab that found the asbestos in the Claire’s products, Scientific Analytical Institute, also found asbestos in products such as blush sold by the teen retailer Justice this year. Justice’s own tests did not find asbestos.
However, Scientific Analytical Institute’s Director of Research and Legal Services, Sean Fitzgerald, says that his lab stands behind the results of all of these tests and pointed out that different labs have microscopes of different strengths. Lower-powered equipment may not detect the chemicals that better machines can.