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You have now put too many carcinogens in your body… « Ecofeminism

Warning! You have now put too many carcinogens in your body…


Being that I am a collegiate athlete I am constantly working out and constantly sweating. Sweating may be more of an understatement, not to get graphic but let’s say after a days lacrosse practice I am more or less drenched in sweat.Due to the fact that I break out so easily and often as well as sweat I wash my face more than the average Joe. While this may seem all nice, good and clean, I often find my face drying out from the constant washing and it is especially difficult to find that medium in the winter. So when it comes to fash wash, I’ve basically tried every single one on the planet. When I came to Dickinson, one of my teammates mentioned Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser and luckily my face agreed to it. While I tend to switch cleaners from time to time to change things up, recently I’ve been using Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser. But what I never realized or thought about what was in this product and how it could affect my health in any way.

This is it!

When we were presented this project, I decided this cleanser would be useful in investigating the ingredients and health benefits/risks, being that I use it several times a day. So first I needed to do some research because other than liking the product for how it makes my face feel and the convenient size bottle it comes in that allows me to travel with it, I had no idea what was in the product, where the product was made, the impact on the workers involved in creating and manufacturing the product and the impact the factory that has in making the product has on it’s surrounding communities. I started with the when and where. Aveeno first came to be in 1945 when two brothers, Albert and Sidney Musher were interested in human remedies and how they afftected human health. Collaborating with the Mayo Clinic, these two brothers discovered a “natural bath additive containing 100% colloidal oatmeal (“colloidal” means milled to an ultra-fine powder), known for its natural ability to hold in moisture and relieve dry, irritated skin” (Johnson and Johnson Consumer Products). As a child, I remember taking an “Aveeno” bath when I had the chicken pox and have never forgotten that soothing feeling and oatmeal smell and was always curious at how it took the treacherous itch away. So I guess it is not ironic that as a young adult I’ve still stuck with the Aveeno name brand.

Aveeno products are manufactured and in part controlled by Johnson and Johnson, a pharmaceutical company that creates and owns several consumer brands. Johnson and Johnson headquarters can be found in New Brunswick, NJ. Many recognize Johnson and Johnson for their baby products, so it was not surprising when I came across a letter on their website explaining their caution to human wellness both inside the factory and out. A woman wrote a letter asking about customer care and recieved a response from Vice President Susan Nettesheim who puts it vivdly when she says, “When we develop a personal care product, our experts including doctors, toxicologists and biologists, carefully review safety data and the most recent scientific literature on the ingredients, and we thoroughly evaluate all our finished formulations for safety. We understand that babies’ skin, hair, and eyes are different from adults’ and we develop our products with this in mind, consulting with pediatricians, nurses and other professionals to ensure that all our baby products are safe, mild and gentle. In addition to our own high standards, our products always meet — and often exceed — the standards of the agencies around the world responsible for the safety of personal care products in the markets where they are sold” (Nettesheim). After reading this, I was very comforted by the fact that not only do Johnson and Johnson take severe safety precautions when creating their products but they are making sure they are safe for the people using them. But then I asked myself, ok this is great, but what about Aveeno, do they take the same precautionary methods?

I found this image especially ironic and helpful because it demonstrates the other side, the side of products we normally don't see or are not subjected to, like how I was blindsided by the face wash I thought was all-world

Aveeno, like Johnson and Johnson is very focused in created healthy and safe products for consumers and one of the benefits the Aveeno brand holds over others is it’s use of several natural ingredients. The cleanser that I use is primarily composed of soy extracts and salicylic acid to help treat acne. The cleanser is also hypo-allergenic and oil free, which I love being that my skin is very sensitive. All of my research was so relieving and exciting, but the worst was yet to come. When using the SkinDeep data base, I found that this cleanser was ranked a 7 which is very high on the health concern scale (10 being the highest, 1 being the lowest). I couldn’t believe it, after I saw the safety Johnson and Johnson manufacuters took in creating their products and the natural ingredients in the cleanser I thought I was golden. Then I found some more ingredients and health risks…

Health hazards from using this product include, endocrine disruption, eye/skin irritation, persistence and bioaccumulation. Moderate concerns dealt with organ toxicity and neuro toxicity. Two chemicals I had never even heard of that are health risks for organ toxicity are Ethylene Oxide and 1-4 Dioxane. Ethylene Oxide, a human carcinogen runs extremely high under cancer concerns. I found it interesting that studies have shown that 1-4 Dioxane may be a human carcinogen but is still prohibited in the EU and Canada and not the U.S. As a daughter of a 3 time breast cancer survivor, I always felt I was extra careful when it came to the type of deodorants I used and recently the type of make-up. While the factory workers seem to be safe, I certainly am not. Over the course of the past month my exposure to this product has increased being that I am in the heart of my season. With that increased exposure I’m running the risk of ingesting these toxins and am exposing myself to human carcinogens without even knowing it! Starting tonight, I’m finding something more suitable for my health needs and concerns.

Here are my recordings of the products I used during 3 school days:

Time Date Product Type Product Name Product Name
6:30PM Tuesday Health/Hygiene Soap Softsoap Crisp Cucmber and Melon Handwash
8:01pm Tuesday Health/Hygiene Shampoo Pantene Pro-V Aqua Light
8:05pm Tuesday Health/Hygiene Conditioner Pantene Pro-V Aqua Light
8:07pm Tuesday Health/Hygiene Body Wash Dove Go Fresh Cool Watermelon
10:32pm Tuesday Health/Hygiene Toothpaste Colgate Total Whitening
10:41pm Tuesday Health/Hygiene Face Cream Laura Mercier “Flawless Skin”
11:31pm Tuesday Health/Hygiene Soap Softsoap Crisp Cucmber and Melon Handwash
11:34pm Tuesday Health/Hygiene Hand Cream Gold Bond Ultimate: Softenining with Shea Butter
11:35pm Tuesday Health/Hygiene Chapstick Vaseline
9:20am Wednesday Health/Hygiene Toothpaste Colgate Total Whitening
9:22am Wednesday Health/Hygiene Face Wash Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser
9:26-9:40am Wednesday Beauty Make-up Bobbi Brown Medium Bronzer, Trish McEvoy Lash Curling Mascara-Jet Black, Valerie Beverly Hills Blush, Trish McEvoy Luxe Moistrue Balm
9:41am Wednesday Health/Hygiene Deodorant Old Spice Pure Sport
12:44pm Wednesday Health/Hygiene Soap Softsoap Crisp Cucmber and Melon Handwash
2:24pm Wednesday Health/Hygiene Soap Softsoap Crisp Cucmber and Melon Handwash
7:00pm Wednesday Health/Hygiene Soap School Bathroom Soap Dispenser
8:39pm Wednesday Health/Hygiene Shampoo Pantene Pro-V Aqua Light
8:41pm Wednesday Health/Hygiene Conditioner Pantene Pro-V Aqua Light
8:43pm Wednesday Health/Hygiene Body Wash Dove Go Fresh Cool Watermelon
11:16pm Wednesday Health/Hygiene Toothpaste Colgate Total Whitening
11:18pm Wednesday Health/Hygiene Face Wash Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser
11:20pm Wednesday Health/Hygiene Soap Softsoap Crisp Cucmber and Melon Handwash
11:21pm Wednesday Health/Hygiene Hand Cream Gold Bond Ultimate: Softenining with Shea Butter
11:50am Thursday Health/Hygiene Toothpaste Colgate Total Whitening
11:52am Thursday Health/Hygiene Face Wash Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser
11:53am Thursday Health/Hygiene Deodorant Old Spice Pure Sport
11:54am Thursday Health/Hygiene Soap Softsoap Crisp Cucmber and Melon Handwash
11:55am Thursday Beauty Make-up Bobbi Brown Medium Bronzer, Trish McEvoy Lash Curling Mascara-Jet Black, Valerie Beverly Hills Blush, Trish McEvoy Luxe Moistrue Balm
11:56am Thursday Health/Hygiene Deodorant Old Spice Pure Sport
3:28pm Thursday Health/Hygiene Soap Softsoap Crisp Cucmber and Melon Handwash
7:30pm Thursday Health/Hygiene Soap Softsoap Crisp Cucmber and Melon Handwash
10:28pm Thursday Health/Hygiene Shampoo Pantene Pro-V Aqua Light
10:31pm Thursday Health/Hygiene Conditioner Pantene Pro-V Aqua Light
10:34pm Thursday Health/Hygiene Body Wash Dove Go Fresh Cool Watermelon
10:48pm Thursday Health/Hygiene Toothpaste Colgate Total Whitening
11:00pm Thursday Health/Hygiene Face Wash Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser
9:30am Friday Health/Hygiene Soap Softsoap Crisp Cucmber and Melon Handwash
9:32am Friday Health/Hygiene Toothpaste Colgate Total Whitening
9:35am Friday Health/Hygiene Face Cream Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser
9:42am Friday Beauty Make-up Bobbi Brown Medium Bronzer, Trish McEvoy Lash Curling Mascara-Jet Black, Valerie Beverly Hills Blush, Trish McEvoy Luxe Moistrue Balm
9:45am Friday Health/Hygiene Deodorant Old Spice Pure Sport
11:46am Friday Health/Hygiene Soap School Soap Dispenser

 

After doing this report I have definitly become more aware about the products I use and am more interested to know about the ingredients in them. Prior to conducting this experiment I was definitely not aware of how and where the products I use were made, what ingredients they contained, or if they were harmful to me or the environment. I was definitely surprised at how often I wash my hands and am applying face creams and hand creams. I feel that my log in would be much different than a 10 year girl or a 50-year old man. Every person has specific beauty and health concerns and needs and what I’ve realized is those needs are based off of your everyday life and activities. After doing this project, I want to get more involved in researching products before I buy them and making those around me more aware as well. I feel like it’s one of those things we always say we’ll get around to and never do, but this research has truly opened my eyes. I am at risk and more importantly my most prized possesion is at risk, my body! I’m not happy at the amount of different products I use on the day to day and my lack of knowledge about them, but I’m glad I did this log in so that I was able to see the real implications behind these products. I think we define what’s necessary for our everyday lives and thus we decide whether or not we are at risk and if we want to continue using a harmful product. I’ll admit, I’m sad to part with my cleanser but it’s simply necessary. As for other Aveeno products in the future? I’m not so sure being that it’s ironic that their website advocates their recyclable bottles, but don’t they know our bodies are not recyclable?

 

Sources Used:
 http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/product/9764…

 https://secure-www.jnj.com/wps/wcm/jsp/c…

 http://www.aveeno.com/facialcare/clear-c…

 http://www.johnsonsbaby.com/a-statement-…

 

  1. #1 by M Yahiya Khan on April 1, 2012 - 5:45 am

    I like you am totally unaware of what goes into these every day products. I find it very disturbing that we are actually harming ourselves, and the planet, when we are simply washing our hands…Why in this day and age, do manufacturers put profit beyond any other reason?. They should be accountable for their actions, be concerned for all of us, the future of this planet is at stake, we are slowly killing it…

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