Kristiana Warner thought her 6-year-old daughter’s love of makeup was a harmless hobby.
As WPRI News reports, the Rhode Island mom works for a law firm that specializes in asbestos lawsuits. She’d been working with a lab to test items for asbestos and had even had some of her own makeup tested. So when her daughter Mackenzie asked her to test her favorite palette of glitter makeup, Kristiana humored her.
They’d bought the “Aqua Glitter” makeup kit at a Claire’s in a Providence mall. Though Kristiana had encountered unsafe cosmetics through her work, she didn’t think the lab tests would find any issues with her daughter’s makeup. She told WPRI:
“You assume that when you’re purchasing it, it is safe.”
But when Kristiana got the tests back from the lab, she learned that her daughter’s makeup was extremely unsafe. It had tested positive for tremolite asbestos, a toxic material known to cause cancer.
As Kristiana told WJAR News, when the lab called her to give her the results, she was devastated:
“I physically sank. I ended up sitting on the ground, just trying to wrap my head around how something like that could end up in our home.”
The results prompted Kristiana’s employer to investigate. They obtained 17 more makeup samples from Claire’s stores in nine states and had them tested. The lab found all of the samples contained “alarming rates” of asbestos. The carcinogen was found in the talc-based eye shadows, powders, and blushes in the kits.
According to the Providence Journal, Sean Fitzgerald, who wrote the report on the asbestos findings for the independent lab, said the number of asbestos fibers in the makeup posed “a clear hazard.” Fitzgerald told the Journal:
“What we have here is a loose powder that has millions of fibers that can be released into the air. If you inhale it, it stays in your lungs pretty much for the rest of your life.”
In response to the investigation, Claire’s removed the items from its shelves and is offering a refund for anyone who already purchased a makeup kit. In a statement to WPRI, a Claire’s spokesperson said the company will be investigating the asbestos claim:
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.
Kristiana remains concerned about the effect of the contaminated makeup on her daughter — as well as other children who have used it. Asbestos has been linked to mesothelioma, a fatal cancer, and Kristiana can’t believe it entered their house in a palette of glitter eyeshadow. As she told WJAR, her daughter’s reaction to the news was heartbreaking:
“Her response was, ‘Am I going to die?’ There’s no right answer to that because I don’t want to lie to her.”
Watch Kristiana’s interview with WPRI below: