The Toxicity Within


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Looking at my Body Works chart I think that it is pretty typical for a college student, if not a bit lacking compared to what I would imagine most college girls charts would look like. I try to shower every day to every other day and I don’t use any special products. I also wear almost no make-up usually and I wear contacts every day. Therefore I wasn’t very surprised by what I found recorded in this chart, in fact I could have probably predicted most of it beforehand. This chart simply shows that everyday I wake up, put my contacts in and a little mascara on, at the end of the day I take a shower, brush my teeth, and take my contacts out, a rather simple daily routine. These products contain a few harmful chemicals here and there, such as fragrance, but for the most part I don’t put too many chemicals into my body (not counting the product I chose which turned out to be full of enough chemicals to make up for the rest of the products I use), so I am overall pretty happy with this list and would say I am pretty healthy. I am sure that other women my age are probably facing many of the same issues as myself and probably are worse off since most of female students here at Dickinson wear just as much if not more make-up then I do everyday. Though the degree to how much better or worse off I am compared on other women would vary elsewhere. As I stated, I am better off then a lot of college kids in America or Europe but I am also probably worse off, cosmetic-toxicity-wise, then women my age in say rural Africa. In American society today, the value of cosmetic beauty is stressed a lot more then in other countries, or even America before the 20’s. It is stressed through all classes and in most areas of America. This isn’t to say that everyone follows this socialization, some rural southern churches ban the wearing of make up and certain cultural movements such as the Free Love Movement preferred a more natural stance, but for the most part this idealized beauty achieved through make-up still rings true and usually at the expense of the environment (such as pollution due to factories or species endangerment due to harvesting for their scales). None of these differences could be considered necessary on an individual level, as it would be defined by a doctor or by the FDA, yet they couldn’t be considered completely avoidable culturally either based on how heavy a role make-up plays in certain societies today. In my case, however, I believe that I am doing pretty well.

Time

Date Product Type Product Name Product Name

7:45 am

Monday Health Contact Solution Opti-free Replnish

7:50 am

Monday Beauty Mascara CoverGirl LashBlast Fusion
12: 30 am Monday Hygeine Dish Soap Ultra Palmolive Original
   1:45 am Monday Hygeine Shampoo VO5 Tea Therapy: Blackberry Sage Tea
   1:45 am Monday Hygeine Body Wash Avon Natural’s: Cherry Blossom
   1:45 am Monday Hygeine Toothpaste Arm & Hammer Complete Care
   2:15 am Monday Hygeine Deodorant Degree Natureffects: Honeysuckle & Tea Tree Oil
   2:30 am Monday Health Contact Solution Opti-free Replnish
10:10 am Tuesday Health Contact Solution Opti-free Replnish
10:15 am Tuesday Beauty Mascara CoverGirl LashBlast Fusion
3:25 pm Tuesday Health Chapstick Burt’s Bees Replenishing Lip Balm with pomogranate oil
3:10 am Tuesday Hygeine Toothpaste Arm & Hammer Complete Care
3:15 am Tuesday Health Contact Solution Opti-free Replnish
8:40 am Wednesday Health Contact Solution Opti-free Replnish
8:45 am Wednesday Hygeine Mascara CoverGirl LashBlast Fusion
2:30 am Wednesday Hygeine Shampoo VO5 Moisture Milks: Passion Fruit Smoothie
2:30 am Wednesday Hygeine Body Wash Suave Naturals: Sweet Pea & Violet
2:45 am Wednesday Hygeine Toothpaste Arm & Hammer Complete Care
2:50 am Wednesday Hygeine Deodorant Speed Stick Fresh Rush
2:50 am Wednesday Health Contact Solution Opti-free Replnish
9:50 am Thursday Health Contact Solution Opti-free Replnish
9:55 am Thursday Beauty Mascara CoverGirl LashBlast Fusion
1:35 pm Thursday Health Chapstick Burt’s Bees Replenishing Lip Balm with pomogranate oil
2:15 am Thursday Hygeine Toothpaste Arm & Hammer Complete Care
2:20 am Thursday Health Contact Solution Opti-free Replnish
10:05 am Friday Health Contact Solution Opti-free Replnish
10:10 am Friday Beauty Mascara CoverGirl LashBlast Fusion
4:05 pm Friday Health Chapstick Burt’s Bees Replenishing Lip Balm with pomogranate oil
10:10 am Friday Hygeine Shampoo VO5 Moisture Milks: Passion Fruit Smoothie
10:10 am Friday Hygeine Body Wash Suave Naturals: Sweet Pea & Violet
10: 15 am Friday Hygeine Deodorant Speed Stick Fresh Rush
10:15 am Friday Hygeine Toothpaste Arm & Hammer Complete Care

 

I have never been a huge fan of wearing make-up. I don’t hate make-up, I did stage make-up in high school, it is just that I have always thought that wearing less is better for most occasions, especially for just going to school everyday. That being said, the one cosmetic product that I use everyday without fail is Lash Blast Fusion mascara by CoverGirl. Due to my consistent use of this product I chose it to be my researched project for this report.

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What I found out, however, astounded me. One crappy tube of mascara, that I’ve had forever, is more toxic for me than almost anything else I use in a day. This product ranked a 7 out 10 on the toxic scale and CoverGirl itself hasn’t even allowed safety personal to inspect it for any kind of improvement since 1999, leaving most of the data on this product limited. In the long term, this product has a high concern for issues such as cancer due to the chemical triethanolamine; neurotoxicity due to benzyl alcohol; endocrine issues due to methylparaben, ethylparaben, and propylparaben; and skin issues due to lecithin. As well as a moderate concern for organ system toxicity due to sodium laureth sulfate and propylene glycol; along with low concern for ecotoxicology in trace amounts of chemicals. The short term issues range from eye, skin, or lung irritations to allergies. Through limited data it would appear that the longer you are exposed to it, and the more often, the higher your level of risk, meaning that since I have used it roughly everyday for 2 years I’m at a very high risk for the above issues. None of which are issues that I would ever want to have to deal with, so needless to say I was quite unhappy to find this all out, sitting in a computer lab in the basement of Old West, facing my tiny assailant as it lay nonchalantly on the desk beside me.  CoverGirl has factories in the U.S., the U.K., the Philippines, China, and Australia, although they also will sell their products through other countries occasionally but it’s real crimes become apparent through its merge with Procter & Gamble, in 1988, which is itself located in over 140 countries worldwide. P&G supported the Union during the Civil War and was known for it’s excellent treatment of its employees up through the 40′s, however in recent years it has been criticized for operating in South Africa (during apartheid) and presently operating in 13 countries with terrible workers conditions including Mexico, Brazil, and India, among others. They are also criticized for polluting local rivers (killing fish populations and polluting the wells) as well as for extensive and often unnecessary animal testing. I am very much at risk by using this product, as it would be defined by a doctor or by the FDA, since it ranks so highly on the toxic scale and the company refused to sign the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, as are the communities that reside around factories due to their pollution and poor conditions for those workers living in the area. My product has also never been certified by EWG or an animal rights organization as a company that doesn’t practice on animals, leading to a high possibility that this is indeed how they test out their products. Through its prominent name and extensive past, Procter and Gamble, through CoverGirl, has hid a long history of polluting communities, abusing workers, intoxicating customers, and harming animals in its pursuit of manufacturing products such as the one that I own. By buying these products we are silently condoning the destruction of these systems that we depend on.

Some alternatives that I see to the injustices and toxic casualties of the above system would be a complete inspection by the FDA which would include new regulations for health, safety, and environmental protection as well as mandating improved working conditions for their workers. This would involve a lot of policy change as well as a lot of cooperation internally. They would also need to sign agreements maintaining these changes as well as ending animal testing and as well as the use of toxic chemicals in their products. Society would have to make an adjustment as well. We need to make it clear to Procter and Gamble, and to all other companies like it, that we will not stand for them to deviate from these new mandates; to let them know that if they do we will just stop buying. We must stop buying toxic products, standing by as our wells are polluted, and allowing whole communities to be exploited. If this is not a global effort, than nothing will ever change. Procter and Gamble was once a great company, we can return it to its former position as a humane and environmentally friendly company. So sign petitions pressuring the company to improve, buy healthy and natural products, and protest openly the injustices you witness around you brought on by these companies.

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Resources I used:
 http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/product/4119…

http://householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/household/brands?tbl=brands&id=16003141
 http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/busi…

 http://www.endevil.com/blacklist.html#Pr…

 http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-h…

 

-Jessica Libowitz

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  1. #1 by libowitj on March 17, 2012 - 6:58 am

    I’m sorry, I can’t seem to get the images to work =(

    • #2 by schroede on March 20, 2012 - 4:49 am

      Did you try uploading them to an outside source like tinypic or imgur?

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