Parents who have teens who like to shop should take note: a popular store for girls has been accused of selling makeup containing asbestos. The company denies that the product is harmful, but parents should be made aware of the possible danger.
Until the accusation is verified or disproved, the possibility exists that teens who share makeup could pass tainted product on to other girls.
A makeup recall has not been issued by a government agency. The store chain, however, initially pulled the product after a local television station ran a story claiming they found asbestos. Days later, however, the chain reversed course. They now claim the story was erroneous and there is no asbestos with the makeup.
WTVD ABC 11 in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina made the discovery when they sent sent several popular brands of makeup to a testing center to look for harmful ingredients. One powdered makeup product came back with some alarming results: several heavy metals were found, as well as asbestos, a fibrous compound that can be fatally poisonous if ingested. Prolonged exposure has been linked to a number of diseases, including cancer.
Most people may not even be aware that asbestos is still being used, but only in limited industrial situations. Even so, the presence of any level of asbestos in makeup is disturbing. “I would treat it like a deadly poison, because it is,” according to Sean Fitzgerald, Director of Research and Analytical Services at the Scientific Analytical Institute, which oversaw the testing. “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,” he said.
The Environmental Working Group, an advocacy group dedicated to eliminating asbestos from all products, explained why even trace amounts of asbestos can be harmful. “Asbestos fibers lodged in the lungs or other organs can cause grave, often fatal, illnesses whose symptoms are not evident for decades after exposure. If children are exposed when young, there is more time for asbestos-related illness to develop later in life,” the organization stated in a report.
The product is called Just Shine Shimmer Powder, and it is sold exclusively at Justice Clothing Stores. The testing facility found trace amounts of tremolite asbestos fibers in the makeup, as well as four different heavy metals. Although Justice challenges the testing results, in actuality, both sides may be right. We’ll explain why below.
Here are pictures of the Justice makeup in question.
Justice has a long and strong history of concern for the health and safety of our girls. We are deeply committed to the safety and integrity of our products. 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. We cannot speculate regarding the matter while we investigate. However, your trust is of paramount importance to us. Please be assured that we will accept returns of this item and refund your purchase price.
However, a few days later, Justice issued a new statement. Citing testing of the makeup by a third party, the company now says they do not believe asbestos was ever in the product.
A third party ISO-certified testing lab concluded there is no asbestos in our Just Shine Shimmer Powder product. Reports suggesting that the product contains asbestos are simply inaccurate.
As part of our investigation and out of abundance of caution we found it necessary to quickly provide answers to our customers about our product (Item number 192307, or SKU number 19052777).
Customers with any questions are encouraged to call our customer service associates at 1-866-246-5822 or email us at [email protected].
Ironically, both sides may be correct in their assertions. According to the testing center that originally reviewed the makeup, industrial asbestos can sometimes find its way into talcum powder. Justice makeup uses talcum powder from a third party supplier. A contaminated “batch” of powder from that supplier could have caused the positive test for asbestos. In that case, later “batches” of the makeup would have tested “clean” for asbestos.
It is not yet clear if the makeup recall has been canceled and if the product is back on store shelves. Our request to Justice stores for clarification on that point has not yet been answered.
A history of questionable products
This isn’t the first time Justice has had to recall a potentially harmful product. In 2010, the retail chain recalled a line of necklaces after they were found to contain cadmium, a toxic material. In 2011, they recalled a set of beaded curtains over concerns of strangulation. In 2013, Justice Stores recalled a line of disco lights because girls were being shocked by the wiring.
Please share the possibility of a Justice makeup recall to your family and friends. In addition, please share it on social media. You could save a life!