With increased awareness of the carcinogenic effects of using asbestos, it’s easy to believe we are well past discovering new products that contain the deadly group of silicate minerals. However, this past month proved that is unfortunately not the case. Makeup sold in tween clothing store Justice, formerly Limited Too, contained asbestos – a revelation discovered after a news station had samples tested.

Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring minerals that are linked to the development of lung cancer and mesothelioma, a deadly cancer that affects the lining of internal organs. The carcinogenic material was found in just one of seven of the chain’s makeup products that North Carolina news outlet ABC11 had tested, but any exposure to asbestos could prove to be the cause of health issues years and even decades later, when most asbestos-related disease becomes apparent. The testing also found heavy metals barium, chromium, lead and selenium in the powder.

“What we have here is a talc that was contaminated with asbestos that was used to manufacture a product unfortunately aimed at young children,” said Sean Fitzgerald, the Director of Research and Analytical Services at the Analytical Institute in Greensboro, which tested the products.

The tainted powder, “Just Shine Shimmer Powder,” was sold in stores around the country, and Justice has pulled the cosmetic from the market while its own investigation into the asbestos find is underway. Fitzgerald said though the manufacturer likely didn’t intend to use asbestos-laced talc in the product, it should have tested the talc reserve it was mined from and known it was contaminated with asbestos. He explained:

Children should not be allowed to breathe it. If a 10-year-old inhaled this fiber today, when he’s 50 years old, it’s still there.

While more than 60 countries worldwide have banned or are in the process of banning asbestos, including Canada and the European Union, many countries, including the United States, still allow it in some products. According to the Environmental Protection Agency website, asbestos is not banned in roof coatings, gaskets, brake blocks, automatic transmission components, cement pipe, pipelines and even some clothing.

Of course, makeup is not included in the list of permitted asbestos-containing products, but each day people interact with those that are, often unknowingly placing their health at risk. If you want more information about mesothelioma claims, contact Rhon Jones, who heads up our Toxic Torts Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Rhon.Jones@beasleyallen.com.

Sources: ABC11, EPA, MyMeso

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