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10 Mar 2014

Huw Nesbitt, Guardian (UK)

Child labour: mineral make-up boom raises fears over ethical extraction (India)

After media reports of alleged links between cosmetic makeup and illnesses including cancer, discerning consumers have switched to mineral cosmetics in an attempt to find a more natural beauty alternative. Many of these mineral products contain mica, a glittery substance used in blusher, eyeliner, eye shadow, mascara, lipstick and foundation. Today the main source of this material is India, which accounts for 60% of global production...Nonetheless, concerns about the safety of the country's mica supply chains are increasing...[since] child labour is endemic in India's mica mining business and 86% of the country's mica exports in 2010-2011 were unregulated...[C]osmetic brand Lush, which uses mica from India in its handmade products [says] "will discontinue the use of mica in products." The obstacles Lush encountered in establishing an ethical source of mica are affecting the entire cosmetics industry...[refers to Esteé-Lauder, L'Oreal, Merck]

Part of the following timelines

India: Prominent child labour, unsafe working conditions found in Jharkhand's mica mines

India: Reports of child labour in mica mines raise concerns about cosmetic industry' "ethical extraction"