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Asbestos found in makeup sold by national retail chain

An investigative report recently had several samples of makeup tested to determine if there was anything included in the products that was not listed as an ingredient. The report tested the "Just Shine Shimmer Powder" sold by Justice, a popular girls' apparel store. According to the Scientific Analytical Institute in Greensboro, the makeup tested positive not only for heavy metals barium, chromium, lead and selenium, but also tested positive for asbestos.

The Director of Research and Analytical Services at the lab warns about the dangers of asbestos, especially for young children. When inhaled, asbestos fibers get into the lungs and can lead to diseases such as mesothelioma and other forms of cancer. Children who are exposed to asbestos-containing products may still have these fibers in their bodies 50 years from now and malignant mesothelioma may take 20 years or more to surface, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Talc, crushed into a powder form called talcum powder, is a common ingredient in many cosmetics. However, because talc deposits in the earth are often found near tremolite asbestos, some talc may be contaminated with asbestos fibers. In this case, Justice contracted with a manufacturer who used tremolite asbestos-contaminated talc to manufacture the makeup.

The Director stated that the manufacturer had no intent to put the asbestos in the talc, however this will not necessarily absolve the manufacturer of liability. In a product liability lawsuit, manufacturers may be liable under a theory of strict liability regardless of their state of mind or negligence in making the product. All that matters is that the product was defective because it contained asbestos and that someone was injured from asbestos product exposure. For now, Justice has removed the asbestos-containing product from its website, but has yet to add it to their recalls section.

Source: Goodhousekeeping.com, "Asbestos Found in Makeup Sold by Popular Tween Clothing Store Justice," Marci Robin, July 14, 2017

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