The Times of India has revived accusations that the mica used by global brands to add glitter to make-up products including powders, mascara and lipsticks, is being mined by children.
According to the paper, German health care company Merck was accused of supplying L’Oréal and Revlon with mica mined by children in 2009. Following the scandal, the company implemented several measures to ensure that its pigments were ‘child-labor free’, including sourcing raw materials from legal gated mines.
However, activists claim that the guarantee is meaningless as remote mines are impossible to monitor. Tonnes of scrap from shut-down mines continue to be raked over by children as young as eight. “For companies the situation has become a kind of passing the buck,” Bhuvan Ribhu of Bachpan Bachao Andolan NGO told the newspaper. “It’s a collective responsibility of anyone who is procuring any mica from this region to come forward and ensure that all the children are in school.”
Estée Lauder and Chanel are among the cosmetics companies who have joined a scheme to help fund the education of children in the region.