Today, I need to finish up what began last Wednesday, a post on the health hazards of skin care, so I can dig to the root of another healthy living issue tomorrow. Before I get to a common question asked over and over after last Wednesday's post, here are some facts on skin care products that will add some background to our discussion:
•The average woman uses 12 personal care products daily exposing her to 168 chemicals each and every day. Teens use 17, exposing themselves to even more. Men, about 6.
•The U.S. cosmetic industry is self-regulating. The European Union banned the use of 1109 chemicals in its personal care products-including sodium laurel sulphate. The FDA has banned the use of 10 chemicals in U.S. personal care products. http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr;rgn=div6;view=text;node=21%3A126.96.36.199.10.2;idno=21;sid=11932eedf179169919a4f92bf2ebd207;cc=ecfr
•Some cosmetic companies argue that the level of harmful chemicals in any one product is not enough to harm you. Even small doses of some chemicals can have serious consequences in children and young women. And since you reach for the same product every day, several days a week for months or years, that "small exposure" can add up to major exposure over an extended period of time.
Our skin is our largest organ and quickly absorbs about 60% of what we put on it...the good, bad and the hazardous.
Now...to the Question of the Week, "What about.....?"
I wrote The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics last week about the 5 brands I kept hearing about over and over about from all of you. You were having trouble finding them in the database or could just find a couple of products. All are direct sales/network marketing companies. I began to wonder if we were just missing a special tab where all those companies were located, although I had looked up a couple of others and found them and their products very easily....signers of the Compact and fully compliant. And so, I wrote and asked.
Below is the response I got back directly from The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. Beauticontrol was also included and the info for them is the same as the 4 talked about here. Here is the email:
From: "Campaign for Safe Cosmetics" To: "Penny Rudder" firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, August 13, 2010 6:46 PM
And thanks for your question.
Arbonne, Avon, Mary Kay and Melaleuca - all companies that claim to support women's health- are aware of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics but have refused to sign it. If they are truly for women's health (and disease prevention) and are making "safe" products it shouldn't be too hard for them to sign the Compact. Over 1,500 companies have signed the Compact, a commitment to manufacture personal care products free of carcinogens, mutagens and reproductive toxins.
As for lead-free products that Avon makes, it's impossible to tell without testing everything in their line. That's the shame in all of this, and it shines a light on how much work we still need to do. Nice that we have introduced the federal Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 to help remedy this!
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics does not endorse or hand-pick "safe" companies to refer customers to. The growing list of safer companies on our Web site is comprised solely of companies that have signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics.
We get a lot of inquiries from (the above listed) customers and consultants, so if we all make it clear that we're serious about demanding safe products maybe we'll see some movement!
And, just so you know how the database, http://www.cosmeticdatabase.com/ was formed, this from the book, Not Just a Pretty Face..."it was compiled from the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Compendium, a review of the safety summaries of 1,100 ingredients reviewed by the cosmetic industry's safety panel. The database compares ingredients in products to the recommendations in the Compendium and shows if the industry is even following the recommendations of its own safety manual. And further, that is the biggest irony: that this industry that is purportedly self-regulating, that pushed 30 years ago to have its own safety panel outside the FDA, was (is) not even following the advice of that panel when it comes to product safety." And this on hazard scores, "Product ratings are brand-blind, based on a hazard classification scoring system that applies product by product, and are subject to change as scientific data develops and becomes public."
These are the facts. As a private citizen, this is what I am going to do. I have already written my congressman and have to figure out how to do more. I am going to minimize my risks. I have made my own decisions about which products I am going to use now to protect myself, stay healthy, worry less. Health=Beauty. I am moving forward with a safe solution.(August 10th post)
On this site which is all about "peace", I will offer only the "beauty" discoveries that fit the following:
1. Company must be a signer of "The Compact for Safe Cosmetics," the pledge to not use cancer-causing or hormone-disrupting ingredients in their products.
2. Company must fully disclose product ingredients.
3. Products must earn the lowest toxicity rating of 0-2 by The Environmental Working Group's "Skin Deep Report." (Products are rated on a 0-10 scale. Zero being least toxic. Ten being most toxic.)
4. I am adding later today a new tab "Our Little Green Book". This will be OGT's Safety Manual where I will list all the links that I have shared on this blog. Some will include special offers just for us. That way, you will have a quick and growing list of safe products available with one simple click.
I have tried to be very unemotional up until now and just share the facts. But, truly, when I learned that a cancer survivor was told to use products that on the database have known hazards, high ones at that, it ignited my passion. The power of information just got personal and I am so happy to share the new discoveries I have made. No more confusion. Just a wonderful opportunity to make life better!
If you are as passionate as I am about this, please let me know. This is a call to action. I need your help. We all do. There are some fun ways we can share the message and offer others safe solutions.
The safety levels of the products we use daily should not be best described as:
For those of you who want the full footnoted and annotated script from The Story of Cosmetics, email me.