Last year it was the teen clothing store Justice (formerly known as The Limited Too), and now, this year, it’s Claire’s – the popular fashion chain that can be found in malls across the U.S.
During the final week of December, independent testing at the Scientific Analytical Institute (SAI) found multiple Claire’s makeup products to contain tremolite asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral that has a stringy, fibrous-like composition. Often, asbestos coexists underground with talc, and the 2 minerals are mined together.
Asbestos is also the only known cause of the lethal cancer mesothelioma, and it has absolutely no place around anyone, let alone our children and young shoppers.
Claire’s Takes Makeup off Shelves
Emily Volz of WJAR-TV in Providence, RI broke the story on December 22nd, 2017: testing had found that the Claire’s located in Providence Place Mall was selling a makeup product that had asbestos in it. Since then, over a dozen other makeup products sold at Claire’s have been tested for asbestos, all of which were found to contain asbestos.
The specific products in question are the following, according to Claire’s website:
- Ultimate Mega Make Up Set®
- Metallic Hot Pink Glitter 48 Piece Makeup Set®
- Pink Glitter Cellphone Makeup Compact®
- Bedazzled Rainbow Heart Makeup Set®
- Rainbow Bedazzled Star Make Up Set®
- Rainbow Glitter Heart Shaped Makeup Set®
- Mint Glitter Make Up Set®
- Rainbow Bedazzled Rectangle Make Up Set®
- Pink Glitter Palette with Eyeshadow & Lip Gloss®
In response to the news story, Claire’s removed these products from their shelves and started refunding customers. Claire’s stated:
“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.”
In a separate statement, released a week later, Claire’s noted that their own initial testing found no such contamination, saying that “the cosmetics tested to date are asbestos free.” Still, “out of an abundance of caution,” Claire’s has vowed that “additional testing is underway.”
As of the New Year, results from any additional tests are unknown.
Asbestos: One of America’s Worst Enemies
Asbestos, no matter how small the quantity, is never something to be trifled with. The mineral is lethal in any capacity. All that it takes to cause mesothelioma is a single, microscopic fiber of the mineral.
The mineral can be inhaled or ingested and become lodged in a person’s lung, stomach, or vital organ lining, staying there for decades, until abnormal cancer cells form, often getting extremely aggressive 20 to 50 years after exposure. By the time that mesothelioma is detected by doctors, it’s often too late – the prognosis for this particular cancer is abysmal, with most mesothelioma victims not surviving more than 6 months.
Historically, asbestos was once hailed as a “miracle mineral,” and was used in the shipbuilding, construction, and automobile industries, among dozens of others. Due to the fiber’s strength and natural heat resistance, it was often used as insulation.
Companies that were using asbestos knew for a long time about the dangers of the mineral, but chose to continue using it regardless, putting their workers and the American public at risk for decades.
Now, of course, the risks posed by asbestos are well-known. Over 60 countries across the globe have outright banned asbestos in any form or volume. The U.S., however, is not one of these countries, and the use of asbestos – while knowingly toxic – still continues here on the home front in spite of much pushback.
Sadly, it’s estimated that in America alone, 12,000 to 15,000 deaths per year are directly due to asbestos. This tragic trend will only continue for many more years to come if companies continue to act recklessly with only profit in mind.
Could You Have Asbestos-Contaminated Makeup in Your Home?
While it’s encouraging news that the Claire’s makeups in question have been pulled from store shelves, it’s important to remember that families with young children might already own these makeup products.
Make sure that if this makeup is found in your home, you contact Claire’s for more information and a full refund. Claire’s hotline opens at 8 a.m.; their phone number is 1-800-804-7914.
If you are unsure whether or not the Claire’s makeup kit (or product) in your home contains asbestos, please exercise as much caution as possible. Check whether or not the item is one of the 17 listed in this image gallery.
Such reckless behavior by a company in the business of selling beauty products to children and teens is just plan inexcusable. The companies that expose people to asbestos – especially our young and vulnerable who are to be protected at all costs – need to be held accountable for their actions.
When in July 2017, retailer Justice’s “Just Shine Shimmer Powder” was found to contain asbestos, Sean Fitzgerald, the SAI director who tested the product, commented then: “[How would I treat this?] I would treat it just like any other poison, because it is.”