When you think of asbestos, you probably think of serious cancer, like mesothelioma. Most cases of this kind of cancer involve people who worked in industries with regular exposure. Factory workers, auto mechanics and even construction workers who handled insulation or asbestos remediation could end up developing serious medical conditions due to repeated, prolonged exposure to the toxic minerals.
There's a secondary source of exposure, however, which many consumers don't yet realize. Many health and beauty products, especially those with certain minerals like talc, could also contain asbestos and put users at risk of developing cancers. This risk is the reason for a recall by Claire's, a popular and well-established chain that sells accessories and costume jewelry to tweens, teens and young adults.
Tainted makeup may have included asbestos
Many doting parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents may feel horrified to find out that the sparkly, gem-covered rainbow heart makeup kit they purchased for the little girl on their holiday list could pose a serious health threat. The recall was announced quietly on Saturday, Dec. 23, just days before holidays and during the peak of the holiday shopping frenzy.
The store has since confirmed that they pulled the items from store shelves to prevent ongoing sales in addition to recalling the items already sold. Claire's lists the affected products on their website.
They include their Ultimate Mega Make Up Set, Metallic Hot Pink Glitter 48 Piece Makeup Set, Pink Glitter Cellphone Makeup Compact, Rainbow Bedazzled Heart and Star Makeup Sets, Rainbow Glitter Heart Shaped Makeup Set and several more items. While Claire's claims their tests have come back negative, tests ordered by a Rhode Island law clerk confirmed the presence of asbestos in some products.
Consumers trust companies marketing to kids and teens
Parents and caregivers tend to place a lot of trust into businesses selling products aimed at babies, children and teens. Consumers like to believe that companies have rigorous safety testing and consumer protection protocols in place. Sadly, it's common for many retailers and manufacturers to cut corners when it comes to safety, testing and compliance.
The end result can be products that pose a real threat to the public. Whether it's a baby outfit with choking hazard pieces or makeup with asbestos, these products could potentially sicken or kill someone. Asbestos in health and beauty products has been making the news recently, with several high-profile lawsuits against baby powder and talc companies by users who later became sick because of asbestos contamination.
When companies source dangerous materials or fail to realize there are unsafe components to a product, consumers have every right to push back and to hold those companies accountable for their questionable and potentially harmful business practices.