Posts Tagged toxic cosmetics

My Toxic Face Wash

Body Log Table –> Body Log Table

Products that I used during the Body Log

  1. Neutrogena Blackhead Scrub
  2. Dove Deodorant
  3. Neutrogena Oil-Free acne Wash
  4. Bare Minerals Powder Foundation
  5. Bad Gal Eye Mascara
  6. Neutrogena Eyeliner
  7. Giant Brand Nail Polish Remover
  8. Crest with Scope Whitening toothpaste
  9. Scope mouthwash
  10. Vaseline Petroleum Jelly
  11. Burt’s Bee’s Medicated Chapstick
  12. “Fresh” Perfume
  13. Aveeno Oil-free Face Moisturizer
  14. Neutrogena Makeup Removing Pads
  15. Vaseline Shea Butter Body Moisturizer
  16. Purell Active Hand Sanitzer
  17. Assorted Anti-Bacterial Hand Soaps (Bathrooms around campus)

RESPONSE TO MY BODY LOG:

I was personally not surprised at how consistently I used my products because I have used the same products for years now because of the sensitive nature of my skin and body to new products. So, going into the log I knew that I wouldn’t drift from my normal routine. However, the aspect that most surprised me was, after the log was finished, and I was reviewing how often I used each item, I found that a majority of the products were not “necessary” for my survival. For example, I could live without my “Bad Gal” eye mascara, but because I have grown up religiously reading magazines with beauty tips that have told me that my eyelashes aren’t lengthy or dark enough to look “beautiful” I have to manipulate them with makeup. This type of foolery within our society has made us, girls especially, believe that these “unnecessary” products to our survival have become essential. Guilty as charged. I cannot imagine what I would do without my powder foundation or my $15 bottle of shampoo. Reflecting back on this need for my products that I use the most, I have found that this sick addiction to our products have gotten in the way of what we most need for our survival, and not what society has placed upon us to think is necessary for acceptance.

Poison, ahem, “Product” of choice…

Neutrogena Blackhead Eliminating Scrub

Known carcinogens:

• Salicylic Acid

• Iron Oxides

• Polyethylene

All in all my product placed lower on the risk scale for the known carcinogens within the scrub. This was partially because of the neutrality of the salicylic acids and the oxides and their chemistry within the product. However… the

Development/ Reproductive toxicity was quite high because of the… Disodium EDTA or…

• EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) is a chelating agent, used to sequester and decrease the reactivity of metal ions that may be present in a product.

HISTORY OF EDTA

• Alfred Werner (1893) developed chelating agents, which in 1913, earned him a Nobel Prize

• ORIGIN: Starting in the 1920′s, many new materials such as paints were introduced, and in their manufacturing the elimination of heavy metal contamination was crucial. Citric acid was found to be helpful, but in the mid 1930′s Germany was motivated to develop its own chelating material and not be dependent on importing citric acid. The synthetic substance they invented was EDTA (Ethylene-diamine-tetra-acetate).

 http://www.cardiorenew.com/history.php)

Environmental Concerns of Disodium EDTA

• Has emerged as a consistent organic pollutant

• It degrades to ethylenediaminetriacetic acid, which then cyclizes to the diketopiperizide, a cumulative, persistent, organic environmental pollutant.

• In the New Zealand dairy industry, EDTA has been used as an additive alongside caustic agents to improve cleaning efficiency within dairy processing plants and to minimize dairy wastewater discharge into the environment. There are two main disposal methods of dairy wastes; direct discharge into the local stream after treatment, and spray irrigation onto pasture land.  http://researchcommons.waikato.ac.nz/han…)

Known Occupational Hazards

  • Exposure to Titanium Dioxide (in small doses in the workplace)

The titanium dioxide has been found to be a carcinogen through several studies with the use of lab rats between 1985 and 2004.

a Titanium Dioxide Chemical Factory in China

 

Resources I used:

  1. http://www.cardiorenew.com/history.php
  2. http://researchcommons.waikato.ac.nz/handle/10289/3284

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My Toxic Make-Up Remover

Date Time Product Type Product Name Product Brand
Tuesday 5:05 PM Hygiene Hand Sanitizer Purell
11:00 PM Beauty Cuticule Remover Liquid Sally Hansen
Wednesday 12:11 AM Hygiene Toothpaste Crest Extra Whitenning
12:14 AM Hygiene Hand Soap Up-and-Up Anti-Bacterial
12:15 AM Hygiene/Beauty Face Wash Mary Kay Timewise
12:18 AM Hygiene/Beauty Eye Make-Up Remover Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Make Up Remover
12:20 AM Health/Beauty Face Moisturizer Pond’s
12:22 AM Hygiene Hand Sanitizer Purell
12:28 AM Hygiene/Health Vaseline (lips) Vaseline
12:30 AM Health Lubricating Eye Drops Systane Long Lasting Lubricant Eye Drops
8:52 AM Hygiene/Beauty Eye Make-Up Remover Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Make Up Remover
8:54 AM Beauty Liquid Foundation Loreal True Match Foundation Sand Beige W5
8:56 AM Beauty Powdered Foundation Loreal True Match Powder Foundation Sun Beige W6
8:57 AM Health Lubricating Eye Drops Systane Long Lasting Lubricant Eye Drops
8:59 AM Beauty Bronzer NYC Color Wheel Mosaic Face Powder
9:00 AM Beauty Blush Physician’s Formula Powder Palette Multi-Colored Blush
9:01 AM Beauty Concealer Cover Girl + Olay Simply Ageless Eye Concealer 205
9:02 AM Beauty Concealer Lorac Coverup C5
9:05 AM Beauty Eye Shadow Maybelline Expert Wear Eyeshadow Night Sky
9:07 AM Beauty Mascara Cover Girl Last Blast Volume Waterproof Very Black
9:08 AM Beauty Eyeliner CoverGirl Perfect Point Plus Self Sharpening Eye Pencil
9:10 AM Hygiene Hand Sanitizer Purell
9:13 AM Hygiene/Health Contact Solution Opti-Free Replenish Multi-Purpose Disinfecting Solution
9:19 AM Health/Beauty Lotion Vaseline
9:21 AM Hygiene Toothpaste Crest Extra Whitenning
11:45 AM Hygiene Shampoo and Conditioner Pantene Pro-V 2 in 1 Dry to Moisturized, Medium to Thick
11:52 AM Hygine Body Wash Dove
12:15 PM Beauty Powdered Foundation Loreal True Match Powder Foundation Sun Beige W6
12:16 PM Beauty Concealer Lorac Coverup C5
12:20 PM Beauty Eyeliner CoverGirl Perfect Point Plus Self Sharpening Eye Pencil
2:49 PM Health Lubricating Eye Drops Systane Long Lasting Lubricant Eye Drops
5:03 PM Health Lubricating Eye Drops Systane Long Lasting Lubricant Eye Drops
11:55 PM Hygiene Toothpaste Crest Extra Whitenning
11:58 PM Hygiene Hand Soap Up-and-Up Anti-Bacterial
11:59 PM Hygiene/Beauty Face Wash
Thursday 12:02 AM Hygiene/Beauty Eye Make-Up Remover Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Make Up Remover
12:04 AM Health/Beauty Face Moisturizer Pond’s
12:06 AM Hygiene Hand Sanitizer Purell
12:28 AM Hygiene/Health Vaseline (lips) Vaseline
12:35 AM Health Lubricating Eye Drops Systane Long Lasting Lubricant Eye Drops
8:17 AM Hygiene/Beauty Eye Make-Up Remover Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Make Up Remover
8:19 AM Beauty Liquid Foundation Loreal True Match Foundation Sand Beige W5
8:21 AM Beauty Powdered Foundation Loreal True Match Powder Foundation Sun Beige W6
8:23 AM Health Lubricating Eye Drops Systane Long Lasting Lubricant Eye Drops
8:25 AM Beauty Bronzer NYC Color Wheel Mosaic Face Powder
8:26 AM Beauty Powdered Blush Physician’s Formula Powder Palette Multi-Colored Blush
8:27 AM Beauty Concealer Cover Girl + Olay Simply Ageless Eye Concealer 205
8:28 AM Beauty Concealer Lorac Coverup C5
8:31 AM Beauty Eye Shadow Maybelline Expert Wear Eyeshadow Night Sky
8:33 AM Beauty Mascara Cover Girl Last Blast Volume Waterproof Very Black
8:34 AM Beauty Eyeliner CoverGirl Perfect Point Plus Self Sharpening Eye Pencil
8:36 AM Hygiene Hand Sanitizer Purell
8:39 AM Hygiene/Health Contact Solution Opti-Free Replenish Multi-Purpose Disinfecting Solution
8:41 AM Health/Beauty Lotion Vaseline
8:51 AM Hygiene Toothpaste Crest Extra Whitenning
12:20 PM Health Lubricating Eye Drops Systane Long Lasting Lubricant Eye Drops
3:55 PM Health Lubricating Eye Drops Systane Long Lasting Lubricant Eye Drops
5:00 PM Hygiene Hand Sanitizer Purell
5:03 PM Health Lubricating Eye Drops Systane Long Lasting Lubricant Eye Drops
Friday 1:05 AM Hygiene Toothpaste Crest Extra Whitenning
1:08 AM Hygiene Hand Soap Up-and-Up Anti-Bacterial
1:09 AM Hygiene/Beauty Face Wash Mary Kay Timewise
1:12 AM Hygiene/Beauty Eye Make-Up Remover Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Make Up Remover
1:14 AM Health/Beauty Face Moisturizer Pond’s
1:38 AM Hygiene Hand Sanitizer Purell
1:45 AM Hygiene/Health Vaseline (lips) Vaseline
1:46 AM Health Lubricating Eye Drops Systane Long Lasting Lubricant Eye Drops
8:50 AM Hygiene/Beauty Eye Make-Up Remover Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Make Up Remover
8:54 AM Beauty Liquid Foundation Loreal True Match Foundation Sand Beige W5
8:56 AM Beauty Powdered Foundation Loreal True Match Powder Foundation Sun Beige W6
8:57 AM Health Lubricating Eye Drops Systane Long Lasting Lubricant Eye Drops
9:00 AM Beauty Bronzer NYC Color Wheel Mosaic Face Powder
9:01 AM Beauty Powdered Blush Physician’s Formula Powder Palette Multi-Colored Blush
9:03 AM Beauty Concealer Cover Girl + Olay Simply Ageless Eye Concealer 205
9:04 AM Beauty Concealer Lorac Coverup C5
9:06 AM Beauty Eye Shadow Maybelline Expert Wear Eyeshadow Night Sky
9:07 AM Beauty Mascara Cover Girl Last Blast Volume Waterproof Very Black
9:08 AM Beauty Eyeliner CoverGirl Perfect Point Plus Self Sharpening Eye Pencil
9:11 AM Hygiene Hand Sanitizer Purell
9:12 AM Hygiene/Health Contact Solution Opti-Free Replenish Multi-Purpose Disinfecting Solution
9:20 AM Health/Beauty Lotion Vaseline
9:22 AM Hygiene Toothpaste Crest Extra Whitenning
11:35 AM Hygiene Shampoo and Conditioner Pantene Pro-V 2 in 1 Dry to Moisturized, Medium to Thick
11:41 AM Hygine Body Wash Dove
11:54 AM Health/Beauty Lotion Vaseline

It is incredible how a process that is so irritating can be so informative. During the last couple days I have tracked my body work, the products that I apply to my body to meet a health, hygiene or beauty need. As you can probably imagine, the process of tracking everything that you use in one day on your own body and the specific time when you used it was incredibly frustrating. However, halfway throughout this process I realized that the source of my frustration was just how often and how many products were included in my own body work.  As I look through my finished list, I can honestly say that I am decently happy with it and that I am not very surprised. Before beginning the process, I was aware that the majority of my body work log was going to consist of my make-up products that I use on a daily basis, which many people may consider “unnecessary.” At first, I was self-conscious for the implications that these products have – I expected people to look at my log and conclude that I was a woman that plastered her face with make-up to cover up some insecurity. Although some people may consider using nine make-up products every day to be excessive, I know I genuinely enjoy the process of putting on make-up, regardless of the beauty need that it may be fulfilling. However, now that I can see exactly how many cosmetics I use and how often I use them, I plan on making an effort to reduce the amounts I apply on my body. I expect that there are a good 30-40% of college women my age that use around the same amount of make-up product that I use, but I believe it varies significantly according to class and income, than any other societal measures. Although women from a higher class than me may use the same amount of product, I expect their brands to be more “high end” such as Bobbi Brown, Clinique, M.A.C., Nars, etc. In result, women in higher classes may have the ability to use more natural and less toxic make-up products on their bodies than I can. Since I use “lesser quality products” or “popular consumer brands,” it is also possible that I am exposed to more toxins and am therefore in a higher level of risk.

 

Neutrogena Make-Up Remover

Since it seems plausible that my “popular brand” products are made up of some toxic ingredients, I decided to investigate the toxicity of my make-up remover, Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Make Up Remover. Keeping my fingers crossed, I began to do research on this product, hoping that at least my make-up remover, which I trust every night to fully remove my make-up off my face, was not toxic.

-DRUMROLL-

Crap, it looks like I’m not that lucky. According to the Cosmetics’ Database, my Neutrogena eye make-up remover is considered to be a “moderate hazard” to my body…just great.  Listed under the products highest health concerns are “neurotoxicity, persistence and bioaccumulation, and irritation of the skin, eyes and lungs;” talk about a scary list! Although the database states that most of these concerns reach only a moderate level, it is clear that there are several ingredients in this product that after a long time of exposure can have very hazardous effects on my face and the rest of my body; among the most harmful are Benzyl Alcohol, Benzalkonium Chloride, and Cyclopentasiloxane. According to the Database, Benzyl Alcohol is a naturally occurring and synthetic ingredient that is frequently used as a solvent and a preservative, although it has several other uses that do not really pertain to my eye make-up remover. Unfortunately, this ingredient has shown strong evidence of human neurotoxicity, is expected to be harmful or toxic to organs in human bodies in Canada, and has shown possible allergic effects in human studies…if that list doesn’t make a girl scared I don’t know what does. Due to the evidence of all these hazardous consequences, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments have recommended the use of this ingredient to be restricted in products, although they somehow determined it to be safe for use in cosmetics under the limitations. Is there something I’m missing here? If this ingredient is moderately toxic in so many ways, why are companies like Neutrogena including it in their products?

 

Benzalkonium Chloride is another sneaky ingredient that is ranked relatively high on the hazard scale, with a rating of 6 out of 10. Although it is not related to neurotoxicity or organ system toxicity, there is very strong evidence of allergies and immunotoxicity. It has been found to be such a powerful immune, skin, and respiratory irritant that Japan has restricted its use in cosmetics and Canada has not only restricted its use but also prohibited it in their cosmetics. What the hell is the U.S. waiting for then? What legitimate reason can they have for allowing this to be in my cosmetics? If these two ingredients don’t scare you enough already, we also have good old Cyclopentasiloxane, a silicon-based cyclic compound used as a skin conditioning agent. Even though this ingredient is ranked lower in the hazard scale, it sounds to me like one of the most potentially dangerous ingredients in my eye-make-up remover. Cyclopentasiloxane is not only a potential neurotoxin, but it is also an endocrine disruptor and is likely an environmental toxin that is known to be persistent and bioaccumulate. The latter characteristics have raised a lot of concern as they are regarded as indicators of truly dangerous toxins, as they will endure throughout time and increase in amounts through levels of the food chain. If this wasn’t terrifying enough, this ingredient is also thought to be a “mild” carcinogen, as one or more animal studies have shown formations of tumors in moderate doses. In other words, I can technically get cancer by using this product…who wouldn’t expect that in their cosmetics, right?

After reading about these different toxins, the only solace I had was the fact that there was only marginal evidence of these ingredients leading to toxicity; even though they can cause cancer and affect your immune system and organs, these would be extreme long term effects after persistent and continuous exposure. However, shouldn’t Neutrogena try to find alternatives for these ingredients instead of distributing them in their products? What were their particular standards for evaluating toxins and were they meeting these standards in all their products? In order to get some answers for these questions, I had to visit the website of Johnson & Johnson Co., who bought Neutrogena in 1994.  As one of America’s largest and most successful multinational pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson has a website that lives up to its status. It is very detailed and transparent in many ways. Although many of us may think of Johnson & Johnson as an American company, it actually has facilities and manufacturers all throughout the world; the list includes Africa, Asia (several countries), Europe (several countries), the Middle East, South American (several countries), and of course the United States (several states). It is possible that my product was created in any of these countries as it is sold worldwide, but it is most probable that it was manufactured here in the United States. Nonetheless, by looking at this impressive list of nations, it is evident that Johnson & Johnson not only reaches a huge public through their products but also has direct effects on its thousands of employees as well on the communities that house their facilities. Recognizing this fact, the company has supposedly gone through great lengths to address the health of its employees by researching the toxicity and other harmful components of the ingredients they use in their products, as well as to create standards for the use of those ingredients and other measures that reduce the occupational hazards for their workforce. On their website under Ingredient Safety, it states, “Our companies are expected to comply with regulations on ingredients in all countries where our products are sold. Wherever authorities have set limits on certain ingredients, we require that our product formulations are within those limits. We also work with regulatory authorities around the world to ensure our ingredients are safe for patients and consumers as well as the environment.” However if this statement is true, why is Neutrogena, a brand under Johnson & Johnson, allowed to use such toxic ingredients in their products? Should they be allowed to use them only because the “product formulations are within the limits?”

 

Johnson & Johnson Headquarters

In terms of workplace safety, the company goes through great lengths to reduce occupational hazards that range from exposure to toxic ingredients and exposure to factors such as factory noise, heat stress, and radiation. They have special toxicology teams that are responsible for setting “acceptable” exposure standards for different chemicals that meet the limitations given by regulatory agencies such as the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), among others. Furthermore, if any chemicals exceed the set standards within the workplace, employees are given the appropriate tools to ensure they are protected. Beginning from 1993, Johnson & Johnson has set environmental goals to reduce toxic emissions and reduce their impacts on the surrounding communities. As a whole, the company has strived to “address our environmental performance, including energy use, carbon dioxide reduction, water use, paper and packaging, waste reduction, product stewardship, environmental literacy, biodiversity, compliance and external manufacturing.” According to the Johnson & Johnson, the majority of its companies was committed to meeting the goals and was able to exceed them. Therefore, although these statements may not truly reflect their day-to-day follow-up on the health of their workers and their communities, the company does seem to take these issues very seriously and are proud of their improvements. However, where does Neutrogena fit into this? Does Johnson & Johnson follow-up with its brands like Neutrogena and ensure that they are abiding by their toxicological and health standards? Hopefully they do, but whether that is the case or not, I believe we can all agree that it might be time for me to find a new make-up remover. Wish me luck!

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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.

national-march-farmed-animals-london_462871.jpg

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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Health Report in Cosmopolitan Magazine

Did anyone check out the December 2010 issue of Cosmo? There was a really interesting article on health against toxic products. Nicole Blades wrote “What Shouldn’t Go near Your Va-Jay-Jay.” The article lists products that are harmful to vaginal health. This includes sprays, ink, toys, dyes, jewelry, and fragrances. I think it’s awesome that Cosmo is taking steps toward increasing women’s awareness of toxic products. The health warnings give reasoning behind why such products shouldn’t be used and the chemistry to help women understand. For example, scented things alter the pH balance “down there” which leads to growth of bad bacteria. I know countless women that read Cosmopolitan, so I am happy to see that promoting good health through banning use of toxic products is becoming more well-known.

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Toxic Products in a Toxic Society

In the past six months I have become much more conscious of the body products that I use. I have made an effort to reduce any harmful products (like Herbal Essences shampoo) and buy ones that have fewer ingredients or are homemade. However, I was still surprised by how many products I use, even if they are “natural.” Most definitely, the number of products I use, the hygienic ones aside (arguably), is a reflection on my class status and location in the Western world. In our toxicology study, I really want to discover the “risk” of using “natural” products, if there is any at all. At this moment in my life, I feel really good about the beauty products I am using on my body, especially the ones that are homemade. Are these at all less toxic or unhealthy than chemistry-lab-designed, factory-produced products? For me, that is the scariest and most important question. Is there any way to escape the unhealthy system? And even if I refuse to use mass-produced beauty products, can I reject the expectations of culture and ‘neglect’ my ‘beauty’ maintenance?

Below is a log of my “Body Work” over three days in a typical school week.

Day Product Type Product Product Name
Wednesday Beauty Facewash Legends of Africa Organic Kenyan Soap
Wednesday Beauty Facewash Neutrogena Facial Cleansing Bar
Wednesday Beauty Moisturizer Desert Essence Facial Moisturizer
Wednesday Beauty Moisturizer
Wednesday Hygiene Toothpaste Tom’s Natural Whole Care Peppermint
Wednesday Hygiene Toothpaste
Wednesday Hygiene Contact lense Optifree Replenish
Wednesday Hygiene Contact Lense
Wednesday Hygiene Deoderant Desert Essence Tea Tree Oil
Wednesday Hygiene Deoderant
Wednesday Beauty Eyeliner Origins “Mushroom” eye pencil
Wednesday Beauty Mascara Origins Fringe Benefits
Wednesday Hygiene Handsoap
Wednesday Hygiene Handsoap
Wednesday Hygiene Handsoap
Wednesday Hygiene Handsoap
Wednesday Hygiene Handsoap Stuff in the school bathrooms.
Wednesday Hygiene Handsoap Stuff in the school bathrooms.
Wednesday Hygiene Handsoap Stuff in the school bathrooms.
Wednesday Hygiene Handsoap Stuff in the school bathrooms.
Wednesday Hygiene Floss Picks Stim-U-Dent Plaque Removers
Wednesday Hygiene Body Wash Nature’s Gate Pomegranete Body Wash
Thursday Beauty Facewash “Legends of Africa”
Thursday Beauty Facewash “Legends of Africa”
Thursday Beauty Moisturizer Desert Essence Facial Moisturizer
Thursday Beauty Moisturizer
Thursday Hygiene Toothpaste Tom’s Natural Whole Care Peppermint
Thursday Hygiene Toothpaste
Thursday Hygiene Contact lense Optifree Replenish
Thursday Hygiene Contact Lense
Thursday Hygiene Deoderant Desert Essence Tea Tree Oil
Thursday Hygiene Deoderant
Thursday Beauty Eyeliner Origins “Mushroom” eye pencil
Thursday Beauty Mascara Origins Fringe Benefits
Thursday Hygiene Handsoap Unnamed bar. Not sure.
Thursday Hygiene Handsoap
Thursday Hygiene Handsoap
Thursday Hygiene Handsoap Stuff in the school bathrooms.
Thursday Hygiene Handsoap Stuff in the school bathrooms.
Thursday Hygiene Handsoap Stuff in the school bathrooms.
Thursday Beauty Lip Balm Burt’s Bees
Friday Beauty Facewash “Legends of Africa”
Beauty Moisturizer Desert Essence Facial Moisturizer
Hygiene Toothpaste Tom’s Natural Whole Care Peppermint
Hygiene Contact lense Optifree Replenish
Hygiene Deoderant Desert Essence Tea Tree Oil
Beauty Eyeliner Origins “Mushroom” eye pencil
Beauty Mascara Origins Fringe Benefits
Hygiene Handsoap Stuff in the school bathrooms.

During our three-day observation period, I used Nature’s Gate Pomegranate Sunflower Velvet Moisture Body Wash only once. I bought this product in Whole Foods, thinking that as long as I bought the product at such a store, it must be somewhat earth and body friendly. Unfortunately, it is only partly earth and body friendly and otherwise pretty harmful. The packaging focuses on the natural botanicals included in the product while also outlining the different ingredients not included in the body wash, such as paraben and sulfate. Yet the product is still harmful for the environment, consumer, and producer.

The Nature’s Gate website provides interesting information about the production of their product, whose “Certified Organic botanicals are farmed without the use of synthetic or inorganic chemicals, utilizing methods that naturally enhance soil structure, conserve water and mitigate climate change. Nature’s Gate sources Organic ingredients from Bayliss Ranch, a nearby organic farm in Biggs, California, minimizing the distance for transportation and the associated energy usage and emissions. The farm’s water supply is derived from rain and runoff of the adjacent Sierra Nevada snow pack.” It seems as though this company understands the importance of protecting soil and water and conserving resources. But I found further information that tells a different story.

What did the founders really have in mind when they founded their company?

I used Cosmetics Database (CD) to find information about the toxicological impact of using this particular body wash over the long term. According to CD, ingredients in this product are linked to allergies/immunotoxicity and other concerns such as “neurotoxicity, organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), and irritation of the skin, eyes, or lungs. The fragrance of this product is what is most frightening to me. It ranks an 8 and could possibly be linked to neurotoxicity, allergies/immunotoxicity and other miscellaneous problems. The issue with discerning the toxicity of the fragrance is that this ingredient is not fully labeled. Its possible effects are unknown. The packaging of the product lists pomegranate and sunflower as the fragrance. Is it possible that these ingredients could have no toxic effect on humans or the earth?

CD also recorded a possibility of occupational hazards in relation to handling the sodium hydroxide in this product. I found this quite ironic as the product’s website claims to be “animal cruelty free.” But what about the human animals who manufacture and use this product!

According to GoodGuide.com, Nature’s Gate body wash ranked an 8.0 out of 10 for human health impacts and a 6.0 out of 10 for “Company” which entails a 6.4 for Environmental Impact (air pollution, ecosystems, global warming, and toxic waste), a 5.2 for Environmental Management, and a 5.2 for Resource Management (energy, materials, and water). The ranking for human health impacts is pretty good, but the “Company” rating is not as good as the Nature’s Gate website might lead one to believe. Based on these ratings and the product website, I would suggest that this company is using some environmentally healthy practices but still has places in which to improve.

The majority of ingredients aside from the fragrance listed a four or lower on the Cosmetics Database scale, meaning their toxic impact is smaller. For me personally, I would argue that the level of personal risk is small, considering my exposure to this product is minimal. I use it twice each week at the most. What is frightening is that this company did not full label the fragrance used in the product. Here it would be most useful if there were stricter laws on labeling, so that consumers can know exactly what is in the product, even if it is unpronounceable or recognizable to the eye of a non-scientist. Of course, using products whose ingredients are readable and understandable is recommended over a manufactured product.

The Nature’s Gate website displays for the consumer ways to care for the earth’s resources. It also shows the company’s involvement in a clean water campaign. Unfortunately, although the corporation lists various ways in which it is concerned about the environment (using recycled and recyclable materials, conserving resources, utilizing local sources), Nature’s Gate still seems to be more concerned with using “natural botanicals” to sell a product. Their focus is not having a minimal environmental impact. Their concern is selling Velvet Moisture Pomegranate Sunflower Body Wash to the uninformed consumer. The website also focuses on the importance of caring for one’s body, while emphasizing the importance of sustainability. What would our society and our earth look like if we understood that really caring for ourselves meant refusing to manufacture or consume toxic products? If sustainability meant more than recycling or conserving, but also sustaining lives, whether they are of the consumer or producer?

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My Body or a Superfund Site?

My Body or a Superfund Site?
In the mornings I have a set routine. I wake up, shower, moisturize, and put on my makeup and perfume before leaving my room. As I use each product, I think about how the product will affect me that day. My shampoo will make my hair clean and shiny; my makeup will make me look more awake and bright; my perfume will keep me smelling sweet throughout the day. It is not until recently that I have started thinking about the other affects that these products have. Will my shampoo contaminate my head with chemicals that my body is not used to? Will my makeup seep toxins into my face? How will breathing in this perfume affect my lungs? These are the questions I should be asking myself throughout my morning routine. As I thoroughly examine and evaluate the products I use daily, it becomes terrifying to confront myself with how poorly I have been treating my own body.

It is difficult to ignore the facts of toxic cosmetics. In the video “Story of Stuff” by the Story of Stuff Project, it is explained just how harmful some cosmetics can be. The cosmetics industry is extremely flawed in its production, marketing, and manufacturing techniques. The industry makes products out to seem amazing – almost as if some products work miracles: “this product will make you look ten years younger”, “this product will last all day long”. Sure, by using this shampoo I will have super shiny, luscious, bouncy locks, but what else will I have…cancer, asthma, and reproductive problems? It has been proved that many cosmetic products including shampoo, sunscreen, and lipstick contain harmful carcinogens and other toxins. With this information available to the general public, why do I continue using such harmful products?
The better question is how do the cosmetics industry and the government allow such contamination to happen? Unfortunately, not all products, ingredients, and chemicals used in cosmetic products are FDA approved or put on product labels. In fact, only about 20% of these ingredients are approved. It is quoted in the FDA Handbook “With the exception of color additives and a few prohibited ingredients, a cosmetic manufacturer may, on his own responsibility, use essentially any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient and market the product without approval.” (Hartley, 2009). It is frightening to know that the US regulation for cosmetics is almost nonexistent. Known harmful chemicals such as Mercury, Dioxane, Nitrosamines, and other carcinogens are permitted for use in cosmetics, even though exposure to these chemicals is extremely toxic to humans. Not only these chemicals alone, but combinations of such toxins can be lethal and are in no way tested, known, or regulated. In most cases, it is the combinations of such harmful substances that lead to the worst toxic exposure.

Story of Cosmetics
I would say that the solution to banning toxins from cosmetics lies in regulation, but obviously this does not seem to be working. My solution is education. The more I educate myself, friends, family, and the public about the harm in using such toxic products, the easier it will be to stop industry from poisoning its consumers. With a change in my daily routine, I will stop treating myself like a toxic waste dump.

- Maggie Rees

Sources:

Hartley, Jo. FDA Regulations Permit Toxins in Cosmetics. Natural News, 2009.

Story of Stuff Video. Story of Stuff Project, Free Range Studios, and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

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