Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Concern Rising Over Chemicals in Cosmetics

Post by Louise
We've known for sometime nasty chemicals lurk within many of our skincare and beauty products but recently the issue seems to be getting a lot of airplay, making us think concern is on the rise.

In a recent article on the David Suzuki Foundation's website, Linda Coulter wrote about the secret ingredients in the skincare products we use on our bodies daily - including deodorant and shampoo. In fact, according to Coulter "No law in Canada (or the U.S.) requires manufacturers to disclose all ingredients in consumer products. Cosmetics manufacturers get away with using the catch-all terms 'fragrance' or 'parfum', code words for over 3,000 chemicals, most of which haven't been tested for toxicity. "

Last week The Huffington Post featured an interesting and informative article by Estelle Hayes which she begins with the question, "Sodium lauryl sulfate is an effective degreaser used to clean oil stains from the floor of my mechanic's repair shop; what's it doing in my toothpaste and my daughter's bubble bath?"

Hayes continues "Everything from lip balm to hand lotion is filled with stuff we wouldn't dream of putting in our stomachs. Instead, we eagerly spread it over the largest organ of the body -- ensuring effective absorption and exposure to a daily dose of illness-inducing and cancer-causing garbage."

She goes on to compare the U.S. to Canada and Europe and perhaps we are, slightly better off - at least we don't rely on a voluntary reporting system for monitoring public safety with these products. Hayes points out that, unlike in the U.S. "Incidents -- from adverse reactions to longitudinal health surveys -- are made public by law."

To date, we've heard lots about parabens and increasingly more about sodium lauryl sulfate, triclosan and fragrance/parfum are next up but there are plenty of other toxins to watch out for as well. Check out the Dirty Dozen Cosmetic Chemicals to Avoid for a comprehensive list. Another great source we use is the Environmental Working Group's Cosmetics Safety Database. Here you can plug in ingredients or product names and learn for yourself what they're all about.

The more you know the less likely you are to lather yourself in toxic chemicals on a daily basis -- because at the moment, relying on labels just isn't enough.

For information about specific toxin-free skincare and cosmetic products, visit our natural skincare section.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting - this is a good reminder that wearing many products is almost as dangerous as ingesting them. It is nice to see this issue receiving more attention!


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