TORONTO — Health Canada says it has requested to see testing data from Claire's Stores Inc. following reports that asbestos has been found in certain cosmetic products sold by the international retailer of youth-oriented jewelry and accessories.
Claire's issued the following statement on Thursday through Twitter and Facebook:
"We have retained an independent laboratory to test the cited products in order to determine whether the recent news reports are accurate. In the interim we have stopped sales of the products and are issuing full refunds to concerned customers. As always, the safety of our customers and products is our top priority."
Canada's federal health agency said Friday that it contacted Claire's, which confirmed that the suspect cosmetics were sold in Canada but have been removed from stores since Dec. 22.
Health Canada also said it will continue to monitor the stop sale to verify that they remain off the market and take further action if testing demonstrates a risk to health and safety.
Asbestos is a mineral used in construction materials and automotive parts to make them stronger and fire-resistant. But they can pose a risk of lung cancer and other diseases if breathed into the lungs, according to Health Canada.
The agency's spokesman referred questions about Claire's investigation to the company.
Email and voicemail messages left at the company's head office weren't answered Friday and a representative on the company's customer service phone line referred the Canadian Press to another toll-free line for consumers and store personnel: 1-888-252-4737.
The retailer's first comments through social media, issued last week, followed a local television news report in Providence, R.I., which featured a woman who works at a Rhode Island law firm that specializes in asbestos litigation.
Kristiana Warner told WPRI-TV that she was already working with a lab on another case and decided to have her six-year-old daughter’s makeup tested — leading to the discovery of asbestos in one product, and later in 17 samples.
Claire's, which is based in the Chicago area, most recently said that the nine products withdrawn from sale were:
— Ultimate Mega Make Up Set
— Metallic Hot Pink Glitter 48 Piece Makeup Set
— Pink Glitter Cellphone Makeup Compact
— Bedazzled Rainbow Heart Makeup Set
— Rainbow Bedazzled Star Make Up Set
— Rainbow Glitter Heart Shaped Makeup Set
— Mint Glitter Make Up Set
— Rainbow Bedazzled Rectangle Make Up Set
— Pink Glitter Palette with Eyeshadow & Lip Gloss
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David Paddon, The Canadian Press