Millions of tween girls received gifts from Claire's stores over the holiday season. And many of those gifts included makeup and lip gloss.
Cathy Augustine was among those buying gifts from Claire's. We found her looking over a breakfast menu with her grand daughter, at the Madeira Cafe in Madeira, Ohio.
She had just been to Claire's to return the makeup kit she had bought the 2nd grader. "It really worried me, I just didn't want her to have anything to do with it," Augustine said.
More than a dozen items recalled
The reason for her concern: news that Claire's wasrecalling 17 different cosmetics items for possible asbestos contamination. Asbestos has been linked to the deadly lung disease Mesothelioma.
UPDATE 1/11/18: Claire's now insists their makeup is asbestos-free, according to their own testing. (See complete statement below).
Products recalled and pulled from shelves include lip gloss, glitter, and kids makeup kits. See the full list HERE.
"You protect your children and grandchildren. And when I read that a mom had it tested and it had some kind of particles of asbestos in it, I said no."
The chain issued a major recall in the days after Christmas, after a Rhode Island law firm claimed its testing found asbestos in cosmetics sold at Claire's stores in 9 different states.
But Fitzgerald said she didn't hear about it for days, due to the holiday, and says said there was no alert in the store when she went back.
"I came in and didn't see any signs, that's not to say there weren't any but I didn't see any signs."
So we checked the Claire's in the Kenwood Towne Center and did not see any recall notices either, at the register or anywhere else.
The chain is not advertising the recall, and unlike with automobile recalls, it is not required to contact buyers (which would be impossible anyway, since many of its purchases are made with cash).
For its part, Claire's says "the safety of our customers is our top priority. All the cosmetics tested to date are asbestos free. But out of an abundance of caution, additional testing is underway."
Augustine just wants to make sure other parents know about the recall.
"Moms and girls who had gotten the same thing for Christmas, or something similar, should know about this," she said.
Bottom line: Claire's says all the makeup it has tested so far is safe, but will give refunds to any parents who have recently purchased its kids cosmetics.
Stop in a local store if you have concerns so you don't waste your money.
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Claire's Refutes Asbestos Claims
We are pleased to report that test results received to date from two certified independent labs confirm that the products in question are asbestos free, completely safe and meet all government requirements. As we said previously, we also confirmed that the talc ingredient that is used in the cosmetics was sourced from Merck KGaA and is asbestos free. Any report that suggests that the products are not safe is totally false.
We have shared with Health Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration the certificates of analysis provided by Merck, and plan to share with those agencies the results of the testing being conducted by the independent labs.
Furthermore, we dispute the findings and testing methods of Sean Fitzgerald, the Director of Research and Analytical Services for Scientific Analytical Institute (SAI), which was asked to do the testing by a personal injury law firm. We only learned of the claims after they went to the press. 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 showed evidence of asbestos, which Justice refuted after analysis of a third-party ISO-certified testing lab.
Claire’s® is one of the world’s leading specialty retailers of fashionable jewelry and accessories for young women, teens, tweens and kids and we pride ourselves in providing our customers with quality products that we stand by. Our paramount concern is the safety of our customers and we apologize for any distress these false reports may have caused. We thank customers for being patient with us as we sought the truth in this matter. We will continue to honor returns from any customers remaining uncomfortable.