The Scientific Analytical Institute (SAI) in Greensboro, N.C., found potentially fatal asbestos fibers in “Just Shine Shimmer Powder” makeup sold at the nationally popular teen clothing store Justice.
The products were tested after an investigative team with television station WTVD in Durham, N.C., asked the lab to analyze a variety of makeup products to find any contents that weren’t listed as an ingredient.
"In this powder designed for children, they could die an untimely death in their thirties or forties because of the exposure to asbestos in this product,” said Sean Fitzgerald, the Director of Research and Analytical Services at SAI.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral and known carcinogen linked to a variety of lung and gastrointestinal diseases, including the aggressive lung cancer mesothelioma. When a person is exposed to asbestos, the particles can remain in the body after being inhaled. Mesothelioma may take years after exposure to develop.
The asbestos found in Justice’s “Just Shine Shimmer Powder” likely came from contaminated talcum powder that was used by manufacturers as an ingredient, SAI found. Talc is a common ingredient in makeup and is known as the softest mineral in the world. Since talc is a mineral derived from the earth, at times near sites known to contain asbestos, it may be contaminated with the deadly mineral asbestos. The Food and Drug Administration considers it unacceptable for cosmetic talc to be contaminated with asbestos, but currently, cosmetic products and ingredients do not have to undergo FDA review or approval before they are available to consumers.
In addition to the toxic asbestos fibers, four heavy metals were found in the teen-targeted makeup, including barium, chromium, lead and selenium.
There is no safe level of lead in the blood. In children, even small amounts of the mineral can cause persistent cognitive damage, and large amounts can cause irreversible health problems, including learning disabilities, attention disorders, mental retardations, stunted growth and even death.
Justice released a statement on the company’s Facebook page stating they plan to hold suppliers responsible. “Upon receiving an inquiry about the Just Shine Shimmer Powder product (Item number 192307, or SKU number 19052777), we immediately began an investigation and, out of an abundance of caution, stopped the sale of this product in our stores and on our website. Our suppliers are required to produce all products in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. If any supplier fails to do so, it is our practice to hold them responsible.”
The company is accepting returns and giving full refunds for the toxic and potentially deadly product.