Tween girls love a Justice store, but the latest news involving cosmetics sold at the national chain isn’t exactly heartwarming. A WTVD I-Team probe claims that it sent samples of Justice’s “Just Shine Shimmer Powder” out for testing to a North Carolina lab because it was curious to see if there were any hidden ingredients in the makeup—and the tests came back showing asbestos was one of those hidden ingredients, in addition to barium, chromium, selenium, and lead. “I would treat it like a deadly poison, because it is,” says Sean Fitzgerald, the director of legal and research services for the Scientific Analytical Institute. He explains that the tremolite asbestos fibers his lab reportedly found in the Justice makeup is inhaled into the lungs, where they can sit for decades and eventually cause diseases such as cancer.
“[Children] could die an untimely death in their 30s or 40s because of the exposure to asbestos in this product,” Fitzgerald says. He adds that asbestos may have found its way into the product via talc, which is a common cosmetics ingredient. “[Talc] forms in the earth with other minerals and some of those minerals are asbestos,” he says. Justice has responded to the I-Team’s investigation with a statement that says it has stopped the sale of the powder “out of an abundance of caution” and is now conducting its own investigation to see if the report holds water, noting it is “committed to the safety and integrity of our products.” BuzzFeed notes that on Justice’s website, the powder is no longer available for sale, though it’s also not listed in the “Product Recalls” section. (A few years ago, a “third wave” of asbestos victims was announced.)