TV Investigative Team Finds Asbestos in Makeup

A group of reporters from WTVD-TV in Durham, North Carolina – dubbed the I-Team – has been conducting a story about make-up products targeted towards teens and tweens and, in their research, found asbestos in makeup.

According to a report aired earlier this week, the team of reporters was checking to see what’s in various kid-focused make-up products that isn’t listed on the ingredients.

In a product retailed at Justice, a popular store for children and middle-schoolers, they discovered that an item called “Just Shine Shimmer Powder” contained tremolite asbestos fibers.

Scientific Analytical Institute in Greensboro tested the products for WTVD, an ABC affiliate.

Sean Fitzgerald, the Director of Research and Analytical Services at the lab said the results of the tests on this powder “were alarming.” He noted that in addition to finding asbestos, he also found four heavy metals in the makeup.

“When it comes to the powder,” Fitzgerald explained, “I would treat it like a deadly poison, because it is.”

“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,” Fitzgerald added, providing photos of slides that clearly show asbestos fibers.

Fitzgerald explained that it is likely that the talc used in the “Just Shine Shimmer Powder” is contaminated with asbestos. It’s a common problem.

Companies like Johnson & Johnson are now on the line for millions and millions of dollars because the asbestos-contaminated talc they’ve used over the years has caused a number of women to develop ovarian cancer due to use in the genital area.

Similarly, children and teens using the asbestos-laden makeup could eventually wind up with asbestos-caused mesothelioma cancer due to the inhalation of dangerous fibers.

It takes decades for mesothelioma to develop, so current users could potentially be diagnosed with such a disease when they reach their 40s or 50s.

The FDA has deemed it unacceptable for talc to be contaminated with any amount of asbestos but that’s not always the case, Fitzgerald points out.

“The problem is, it’s not necessarily the manufacturer, there was no intent to put this in the talc, but they shouldn’t have been using that reserve, because they should’ve tested it and known that that talc source was contaminated with asbestos,” Fitzgerald said.

A spokesperson for Justice, once notified of the concern, responded as follows:

“Justice is committed to the safety and integrity of our products. Upon receiving the inquiry from WTVD, we immediately began an independent investigation. We cannot speculate regarding the matter until we have more information. Nonetheless, out of an abundance of caution, we have stopped the sale of this product while we investigate.”