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Your Go-To Highlighter or Shimmery Eyeshadow Could Be Made by Child Laborers

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We're all about getting our ~glow up~ on, but unfortunately, it turns out that one ingredient in our favorite shimmery, sparkly and glittery products could be seriously problematic.

Teen Vogue reports that a recent investigation done by British broadcaster ITV found that mica, a mineral found in tons of makeup products, is commonly mined by child laborers as young as six years old in India. The mineral is known for its ability to easily be ground into a fine, shimmery powder, which is why it's so common in things like highlighters and shimmery eyeshadow.

In India, children are only allowed to work at the age of 14 in non-hazardous situations - but the investigation estimates that around 75 percent of mica is mined by underage children working illegally in mines, which poses major health risks to them including respiratory and lung diseases. Working also typically forces these children to forgo education.

While companies such as Lush have already pleged to eliminate mica from its products, Broadly reports that it's not mica that's the problem, but the way that it's mined.

"Mica is not a problem, nor is mica mining," Liz van Velzen of child relief agency Terre des Hommes told Broadly. "If the mining companies would pay living wages and make sure working conditions met international standards, parents would be able to work safely and earn enough to provide for their families and send their children to school."

Considering many families depend on mica mining for a living, a boycott won't exactly solve things either - instead, consumers (a.k.a. us) need to demand that cosmetic companies insist on using only child labor-free ingredients, according to Velzen.


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