Asbestos was a miracle substance in the mid-20th century, used as fire-proofing and insulation material in homes and industrial buildings. It’s made of tiny fibers that easily break down, get into the air, and are then inhaled. And then they make a nice home in the respiratory system where they can lead to lung cancer and mesothelioma, that disease they talk about on shady late-night ads for class action lawsuits. That’s why the government banned and ordered its phase out and removal in 1989.
Most of it’s gone, but a big part of a building inspector’s job, say, when you buy a house, is to check to see if you’ve got asbestos in the place. That’s about the only time, thankfully, when asbestos exposure becomes an issue in this day and age. Or when products from other countries that don’t have any anti-asbestos bans hit store shelves.
The good news for customers of Claire’s, the chain of mall stores that caters to pre-teen and teenage girls: If your child bought a cheap glitter makeup kit, your little one’s face is more fireproof now. The bad news: It’s because there’s asbestos in it. Kristi Warner, a Rhode Island mother and employee of a law firm that specializes in contaminated cosmetics lawsuit, got worried about that glitter makeup her six-year-old daughter likes, and sent it to a lab for testing. Yeah, it was just full of delicious asbestos.
Warner contacted Claire’s, who did the right thing by running some more tests, and then releasing a statement. “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.” They also planned an internal investigation and recalled the items in question, which are listed on the company’s website.
Claire’s customers, or more accurately, the parents of the young children who unwittingly slathered poison all over their faces, are, to say the least, not happy.