Note- For those of you who are unfamiliar with what’s been going on with the store “Justice,” here are the facts:
- Justice is a clothing brand whose target market is young girls (primarily ages 7-14)
- One of their makeup powders has just tested positive for asbestos, a deadly, cancer-causing poison. (1)
- So far, Justice has refused to issue a recall of this product. They have stopped selling it but made no effort to contact customers who had already purchased it. This means there are still girls still using this product who don’t know the product has been pulled from shelves for asbestos contamination.
- They are claiming on their website that they have had the product tested themselves and that it tested negative for asbestos. However, they are refusing to provide the public with these lab results, or even the name of the lab.
- As far as we know, Justice has not tested or addressed the levels of lead, barium, chromium, selenium or any other metals for this potentially contaminated product.
(1) According to pleuralmesothelioma.com: “When airborne asbestos fibers are inhaled or swallowed, they can become lodged in the soft tissues of the lungs or abdomen. The body has significant difficulty expelling the fibers, which can trigger more than a dozen health complications, including cancer.”
What in heaven’s name is going on with your brand lately? First, you refuse to answer documentary film-maker James Snyder when he demands to know what that chemical stench is coming from his daughters’ pajamas, and then, when an independent lab finds asbestos in makeup you are marketing to little girls, you attempt to cover it up and make it disappear.
I have soft spot for your stores, Justice. You see, I still remember my own childhood version of you: a magical place called “Limited Too.” This was my favorite store in the universe when I was 12 years old. Their stirrup-foot hot pink leggings were the perfect compliment to my black riding boots in the days when Winnie the horse was still my favorite after-school playmate. Their racks of brightly colored jewelry and makeup were my gateway drug to a lifetime addiction to glittery purple eye shadow. (Regarding my makeup choices grade 6- present: I regret nothing.)
That’s why watching what is happening with your brand these days is so upsetting. I know the trust the girls who shop there, and their parents, have placed in you. And so I understand how angry they are right now. (Have you read the comments on your Facebook wall lately? Like, really angry.) Here’s the thing, Justice. Moms are busy. Like, so busy I’m-not-sure-how-they-ever-find-time-to-eat busy. I kept my 2-year-old niece and nephew last week and was left wondering how my sisters have found a moment to use the bathroom in the last two years. (But seriously parents, how are you doing this? Are you not drinking anything? Wearing adult diapers? Have moms just evolved past urination as a function of the human body?)
Moms work, eat, sleep and run their households (you know, the same things every other human being does), all while attempting to keep very busy little humans, who seem to be on a suicidal mission at every turn, alive. They do not have time to go on a crusade against a multi-national conglomerate with a full-time PR staff working around the clock to deny, cover up, and abdicate responsibility. They have their hands full enough as it is, and then some.
But do you know who does have time? Me. I got nothin’ but time. You see, Justice, I don’t have any children. I don’t even have a dog. I have succulents, and all I have to do is water them once every millennia or so and they’re fine. It’s only my husband and me. We wake up whenever we feel like it on Saturday mornings, go out to dinners that aren’t macaroni and cheese scraps eaten in stolen moments (though I do LOVE a good mac n’ cheese), and read books and take naps on Sunday afternoons. Long ones. (Both the books and the naps.) I am caught up on every season of Orange is the New Black and several other Netflix offerings, I go for nice slow walks on the beach and take the time to smell the roses. And write letters like this one. I’m an actress, which in LA is just a euphemism for unemployed. Like anyone who has reached triple-digit levels in Candy Crush, I have some time on my hands.
So I’m going to use it for something constructive.
I’m going to do whatever I can to mobilize the parents of the girls who were potentially harmed by your product and to demand answers about how this happened in the first place and what you are doing to fix it. You see, Justice, everybody makes mistakes. I’m sure you didn’t mean for there to be asbestos in a product you carry; I get that you didn’t purposively put it there. But you failed to have the proper tests, protocols, and measures in place to protect the children buying the product you put your name on. And for that, you are accountable, and you will be held responsible.
You see, what troubles me the most is how you’ve handled this information now that it’s come to light. Again, mistakes happen. And sadly, toxic chemicals, careless sourcing, contamination, and lack of transparency are nothing new in the cosmetics industry. But you’ve been pretty abysmal in your response to this disaster. (On a totally unrelated note, do you and United Airlines share the same PR firm? Just curious.) Justice, your customers are scared, and for good reason. They are terrified that their daughters have been exposed to a product containing a known carcinogen that could potentially damage them for life. At first, it seemed like you were taking this seriously. But now, Justice, it just seems like you’re hiding something. You have not ordered a recall of the Just Shine Shimmer Powder. You have not so much as proactively contacted the parents of the girls who are currently using this product, or made any attempt whatsoever to do so that I am aware of. (If I am mistaken, please notify me and I will correct this post at once to reflect that.)
Your customer service representatives are giving customers who purchased this product the run around on the phone and presenting them with conflicting information.
And your Facebook page… Let’s talk about your Facebook page.
Again; parents are FLIPPING OUT. They are literally sick with fear, and their questions on your Facebook page reflect that. That is if you can find them. They are buried deep on the feed, since you don’t even have so much as a pinned post to alert customers who visit your page of the issue, and have the “search” function disabled. You are flagging some parent comments as spam, which turns them invisible. Justice, that REEKS of a cover-up. (You know, the more I learn about you, the more ironic your name becomes.) And how have you answered their questions? With the same lame copy/paste response on every. single. one.
At this point, I think Erin Brockovich herself could ask to see your lab results and get the same thoughtless copy/paste response.
So what’s at this amazing link you keep directing everyone to? Some pretty in-depth, hard-hitting answers I’d imagine, given the seriousness of the questions. I mean, asbestos is literally a matter of life and death, and this case involves children. I clicked this link expecting to a find a series of FAQs, recall information, an official apology, SOMETHING. Instead, I found this:
Just Shine Shimmer Powder
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@example.com.
Well, I’m sure glad we cleared that up! I mean, now that the company whose bottom line is at risk has told us everything is just hunky dory and there’s nothing to see here, move along now, I feel so much better. Don’t you?
But… you know what would make me feel even better? Making a copy of these reassuring lab results public. I don’t know what kind of lab was used. Was it accredited? Was it a TEM test, the same type of test that originally detected the problem with the Just Shine Shimmer Powder in the WTDTV report? Or a less sensitive PML test that could show a false negative? What did you do with the product you pulled from your shelves? Has it been tested, or destroyed to cover your tracks? Have you tested any of the other products in this line? Was a sample even sent in for testing at all? We don’t know, because we have nothing but your word for it. And right now, Justice, your word means nothing.
I’m not a mom, but I love being an aunt more than anything. Anyone who has the misfortune of following me on Instagram can tell you that I am about one fingernail’s grip on reality away from one of those gift shop “Aunt’s the Name, Spoiling’s the Game!” tee shirts. (You know, one of those graphic tees like the ones I once collected from Limited Too.) I am that crazy aunt, and the thought of my nieces coming in contact with this product- especially the little one, who puts all her mom and big sister’s makeup (or, as she calls it, “mess mess”) directly into her mouth- makes my stomach turn. I can’t imagine how the moms of the girls who used this product are feeling right now. At least the ones who actually know about it due to their own due diligence, not to any communication from you, Justice.
I am not backing down and the moms and dads of the girls who bought your product are not going away. You can’t hide behind your stone wall and copy/paste responses until this “blows over” and we forget about it. Because the moms I know may be too rushed to eat a meal anywhere other than the car, but they’re not too preoccupied to share a Facebook post. They are insanely busy, but they are also fierce. And I don’t mean the Beyonce Knowles kind of fierce (though they can be that too). I mean the tear-your-limbs-off-if-you-mess-with-their-babies, large-brown-bear kind of fierce. Did the lawyers writing your non-committal press releases ever see the movie The Revenant, Justice? Look what the mama bear did to poor, beautiful Leonardo DiCaprio, and he didn’t even touch her babies. (And, Justice, you’re cute and all, but you are no Leonardo DiCaprio.) The matriarch of our family has the nickname “Mama Tiger,” a name she earned by flipping the switch from sweet-as-pie Georgia Peach to ruthless defender of her cubs when they were threatened. Be careful, Justice, or you may just awaken a jungle full of tigresses.
We look forward to your response.
Virginia “Ginny” Ruth Jeffery
If you agree with me that our girls deserve better, please Facebook message, post, comment, tag, call and email Justice demanding they perform a TEM test on their products at an accredited lab, and make all lab results and their testing methods (including how they selected which units to send in for testing) public.
Tell them you won’t be shopping at their stores until they make this right. Share this information with parents of girls in this age-range who may have bought the product, as Justice has not issued any communication to their customers alerting them to this issue. And lastly, please educate yourselves about the dangers of the largely unregulated beauty industry and vote with your dollars for safer brands. I am personally passionate about this issue, due in part to my own personal experiences, and have a Facebook group, Peachy Clean Living, largely dedicated to this topic.
I have personally requested the lab results from Justice via phone and Facebook, and will update this page if I hear back.
If your child used this product, I would NOT throw it away at this time. I would bag and seal it, and consider having it independently lab-tested. One of the moms who bought a similar powder from Justice told me she is using this lab: http://iatl.com/
Lasty, file a report with the FDA immediately. You can easily do this over the phone or online: https://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/complianceenforcement/adverseeventreporting/default.htm