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SoCos Faqs

SoCos Faqs

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Published by Vishal

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Published by: Vishal on Jan 26, 2011
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01/27/2013

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Page 1
storyofcosmetics.org
The Story of Cosmetics:Frequently Asked Questions 
Carcinogens in baby shampoo?
It’s true! Dozens o children’s bath products analyzed at an independent laboratoryin 2009 were ound to contain ormaldehyde and 1,4 dioxane, two chemicals thatcause cancer in lab animals and are classied as probable human carcinogens. Popularbrands containing these chemicals include Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, Sesame StreetBubble Bath and Huggies Naturally Rereshing Cucumber & Green Tea Baby Wash. Thecompanies argue that each product contains just low levels o these toxins – but thereshouldn’t be any carcinogens in baby shampoo at all. Period.The good news is, many companies have already gured outhow to make excellent products without the toxic chemicals.To learn more check out: http://www.saecosmetics.org/toxictub 
What’s pinkwashing?
Pinkwashing is a term used to describe the activities o companies and groups thatposition themselves as leaders in the struggle to eradicate breast cancer (otenlabeling products with the iconic pink ribbon) while engaging in practices that may becontributing to rising rates o the disease.  Not cool!Despite their reputation as champions or women’s healthburnished by their high-prole breast cancer charity eventsEstee Lauder, Revlon and Avon could all be calledpinkwashers!  Indeed, all three companies continue to use chemicals linked to cancerand other chemicals linked to harm. These “pink-ribbon leaders” manuacture dozenso products each that rank an 8 or higher on the Skin Deep database’s toxicity scale(10 is the worst)including products that contain carcinogens and hormone-disruptingchemicals linked to increased cancer risk.For more about the not-so-cute history o the pink ribbon (which was co-opted bya beauty magazine) and Breast Cancer Awareness Month (which was started by apharmaceutical/chemical company), see Chapter 6 o the book “Not Just a Pretty Face:The Ugly Side o the Beauty Industry” by Stacy Malkan.  www.notjustaprettyace.org
 
Page 2
www.storyofcosmetics.org
THE STORY OF COSMETICS
But isn’t it better living?
In the 1950s government subsidies helped companies gure out how to process oilbyproducts into synthetic chemicals and resins to make all sorts o wonder (what’s-in-it)products rom plastics to make-up. Billions o tons o synthetic substances that neverexisted in nature beore were released into the environment with little understandingo their impacts on people, wildlie and the ecosystem. Now, every baby on Earth iscontaminated with man-made toxins beore they are even born. Mountains o scienticevidence implicate chemical exposures in modern-dayhealth afictions such as breast cancer, testicular cancer,childhood cancers, learning disabilities, autism, asthma,inertility, birth deects, Attention Decit Disorder andother diseases that have been rising in recent decades.That doesn’t exactly sound like better living, now does it?But there is a better way! Green chemistry is the scienceo guring out how to design products and processes inways that minimize or eliminate hazardous substances. Inthe 21st century, all chemistry should be green chemistry. http://www.beyondbenign.org/
 But it’s just a little bit, right?
The companies argue that each product contains only low levels o toxic chemicals – it’sjust a little carcinogen in the baby shampoo, and a little more in the bubble bath, bodywash, diaper cream, toys, ood, water, air … yikes! I this sounds a little crazy, that’sbecause it is. There are a ew things wrong with the industry’s “low toxic doses areOK” argument. First, low doses are adding up; the average woman is exposed to overa hundred cosmetic chemicals a day, and many o these toxic exposures have similarmechanisms o action in the body (i.e., dozens o chemicals that act like estrogen).Secondly, low doses do matter: even the tiniest amounts o some substances can causeharm (think lead paint chips); and some chemicals are more problematic at lower dosesthan higher ones. For example, small doses o hormone-disrupting chemicals basicallyact like a key in a lock, turning hormone signals on and o – yes, the same signals thatdirect important bodily unctions such as reproductive capacity. Third, chemical riskassessments typically study just one chemical at a time, rather than considering thepotential or enhanced toxicity o chemical mixtures – even though evidence suggeststhat some chemicals can exponentially increase each other’s health impacts, http://saecosmetics.org/article.php?id=295.The bottom line: companies are not studying the long-term health impacts o repeatedexposures to the chemical mixtures typically ound in cosmetics – in other words, theyhave no idea about the real health risks o these products.
 
Page 3
www.storyofcosmetics.org
THE STORY OF COSMETICS
What about salon workers?
Despite the act that workers in nail salons are constantly exposed to hazardous cosmeticchemicals, there is shockingly little health research available about the health impactson this population. We shouldn’t be surprised, though, since cosmetic companiesare not required to monitor the health eects o highly exposed worker populations,and the government isn’t conducting this research either. What we do know is causeor concern: Nail salon workers are exposed to many problematic chemicals such asphthalates, toluene, ormaldehyde, acetone, methylacrylates and more. These exposuresoten occur in poorly ventilated spaces to a workorce comprised mainly o women o childbearing age, who are especially vulnerable to toxic exposures. Occupational healthresearch suggests adverse eects on attention, inormation processing and increasedoccupational asthma. See WVE report, “Glossed Over: Health Hazards Associated withToxic Exposure in Nail Salons,” http://www.womenandenvironment.org/newsreports/issuereports/WVE.NailSalon.Report.pd Hair salon environments are also a health concern. An increasing number o studies o humans link long-time hair dye use with cancer, including bladder cancer, non-Hodgkin’slymphoma, and multiple myeloma. See http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/research/coal_tar_hair_dye.php; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19092492?dopt=AbstractPlus and http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13533-hair-dye-may-raise-cancer-risk-or-coieurs.html
How do I fnd saer products?
It’s conusing out there in the unregulated marketplace where consumers don’t havea right to know everything that is in products we use on our bodies and even ‘natural’personal care products can be ull o toxic chemicals. That’s why it’s important to passlaws that require companies to be transparent and responsible. The most importantthing you can do right now to protect yoursel and your amily rom toxic personal careproducts is to get involved in the mobilization to pass the Sae Cosmetics Act o 2010:www.saecosmetics.org/takeaction.Next, here are some ways you can reduce toxic exposures in your home:
- Simpliy: use less stu less oten, and choose products with shorter ingredient lists and ewerhazardous synthetic chemicals (do you really need to spray “air reshener” around the house orsit in a tub ull o toxic suds?) Want more tips? visit www.saecosmetics.org/takeaction- Just say No to Fragrance: It’s best to avoid the mystery concoction known as “ragrance,” maderom a dozen or more secret chemicals. Everything has a ragrance these days, rom make-up,to candles and even clothes. Check labels careully; even “ragrance ree” products may containragrance chemicals to cover up the odor o other chemicals.

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