dear aMerICA


Sagrario Pantoja(11) shows off her highlighter during lunch.

Vivian Potong, Writer

Wake up and be thankful for what you have. Be thankful students that you have the privilege of going to school, be thankful for not having a job, or be thankful that minimum wage is $12 an hour, be thankful that your safe, that you have a roof over your head, food on your table, that you have the luxury of not worrying about if your going to die at any moment.


No, I’m not trying to lecture you, I’m trying to inform you. On the other side of the world in India, while you’re studying, doing sports, and enjoying being a kid, there are four year olds working. Sadly child labor is still a thing, despite the laws, it continues to happen with no consequences. Though specifically a mineral called MICA used in your precious makeup is surrounded by child labor. You are dropping $50 just so your cheek can sparkle while these kids cheeks are literally covered with blood, sweat, and tears. Is a child’s life really worth that sparkle?


I’m here to tell you it’s not, the MICA industry is worth around a half a billion dollars and majority of it comes from India. Even though restrictive environmental laws were passed in the 1980s that caused many mines to shut down some are still operating under elicit operators. Many of these mines are located in a town called Jarkan, which is known for having an abundance of resources, but surprisingly has high poverty rates. The families who live their work everyday in order to have food on the table, and I mean the whole family. Children as young as young as 4 years old work in dangerous mines, only being paid up to $.25 for a days work. In the mines they either sift the MICA from the dirt, or take the dangerous trip inside to gather it. While working in the mines children are at risk of cuts, respiratory illnesses, and even death. This is what your makeup costs. Around 20,000 kids are estimated to be working in mines and there’s not a lot to avoid it unless you decide to drop the shiny beauty products. Don’t believe me, MICA is funneled into a process concealing the fact child labor was involved and then pedaled to industries who sell it to legal mines. So searching if your makeup brand has legal MICA is useless. So I guess I’d advise you after reading this to maybe give up your sparkly eyeshadows, powders, and highlighters, or at least turn to companies like Lush that fully take out MICA from their products.