Claire’s continues to refute claims of asbestos in children’s makeup

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Following claims from a Rhode Island law firm and a local mother that certain Claire’s products contained asbestos, the company on Thursday said additional testing on the items revealed them to be “completely safe.”

Target 12 first reported this story on Dec. 22, when it was learned Claire’s stores were pulling some children’s makeup off their shelves.

Claire’s released a statement shortly after learning of the claims:

“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 WPRI-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.”

The mother, Kristiana Warner, works at a law firm that specializes in asbestos litigation. She said she was already working with a lab on another case and decided to have her daughter’s makeup tested.

According to a report Warner showed Eyewitness News from the Scientific Analytical Institute in Greensboro, North Carolina, the glitter makeup kit came back positive for asbestos.

In total, 17 samples of makeup were tested from Claire’s stores in nine different states, including eye shadows, blushes and compact powders. A letter from the Scientific Analytical Institute said, “all tested positive at alarming rates.”

On Dec. 29, Claire’s issued a statement saying initial testing proved the makeup in question was “asbestos free.” Claire’s then said they would complete additional testing to confirm the initial results.

Claire’s released a statement Thursday about the additional testing:

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.

Deaton Law Firm, the company that initially sent the makeup in for testing, released a statement Jan. 5 in response to Claire’s claims of “asbestos free” makeup:

On December 29, 2017 and January 4, 2018, Claire’s released several misleading and inaccurate statements.

Claire’s stated that they tested the products that were the subject of the vast media reports documenting the independent findings of the Scientific Analytical Institute (“SAI”) that confirmed the products contained asbestos. This statement by Claire’s is entirely misleading as those 17 samples are still in the possession of SAI. To date, Claire’s has NOT requested the samples/products from SAI or the Deaton Law Firm.

In an effort to show complete transparency, the Deaton Law Firm contacted Claire’s and shared the actual testing results, identified the lab conducting the testing, which methodology was used, and which samples from what locations had asbestos in a full report provided to their counsel before it ever made the news.

Claire’s has since responded by issuing self-serving conclusions that they have had the products tested and they are “asbestos-free”. Claire’s has characterized Deaton Law Firm’s claims and SAI’s testing results as “false reports”. Yet, unlike the results we provided, Claire’s has not released what products were allegedly tested, which lab tested them and most importantly, the methodology used to perform the analysis.

Deaton Law Firm and SAI have produced all of the relevant information to support their findings. The burden is on Claire’s to do the same. Failure to produce that information in the public domain will greatly increase the likelihood of Deaton Law Firm seeking the information through litigation.

When Deaton Law Firm issued the first press release related to the asbestos contamination in Claire’s children’s makeup, the only goal was to share this vital information for the good of public health and safety. Assuming Claire’s acted responsibly, Deaton Law Firm did not believe further action would be necessary. We were hoping Claire’s would do the right thing; especially, considering, that they market to a demographic consisting of 6-12 year old children.

Claire’s, however, has apparently chosen a different path to take and Deaton Law Firm is prepared to meet them on that path.

Deaton Law Firm and Kristiana Warner have been contacted by concerned parents and consumers across the country. In an effort to better field the questions and connect with parents in a similar situation, Kristiana created a Facebook group “Claire’s Consumers.” John Deaton and Kristiana Warner will hold a livestream Q&A directly with the concerned consumers within the group on Friday, January 12, 2018.  At that time, Deaton Law Firm may also address any legal action going forward.