July 20, 2011To: forbes.comRe: Posting on “Girl Friday” blogI am writing to correct inaccuracies and provide Avon’s perspective on the recent piece titled“Pinkwashing: Corporate Sponsored Cancer” posted on the “Girl Friday” blog on forbes.com.This letter addresses inaccurate references that certain Avon lipsticks “may have containedhormone disruptors, which are linked to cancer.”Avon has been in business for 125 years, and the foundation of our success is our unparalleled product safety record. We are well aware of rumors that certain cosmetic ingredients “causecancer.” The piece does not name the purported “hormone disruptors,” but it appear it refersmainly to parabens, a family of compounds used safely since the 1920s to help preventdangerous fungal and bacterial contamination in many consumer products, including food, drugsand cosmetics.
Scientific bodies have extensively studied the safety of parabens, including the World HealthOrganization, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Anvisa in Brazil and EU ScientificCommittee on Consumer Safety, which completed its latest safety assessment on parabens inDecember 2010. Not a single government-scientific body has determined that parabens areunsafe.
Despite repeated confirmation of safety, Avon recognizes that consumers enjoy options. We began eliminating parabens in 2002 from some products where there are safe alternatives,including lip products, women’s body care, antiperspirants and deodorants, and children’s products. Avon discloses ingredients on product labels (strictly guided by law) and onavon.com.
Avon scientists continually evaluate ingredient safety in partnership with regulatory,scientific and university bodies. If any ingredient is found to be unsafe, it is immediatelyremoved from our products.In the context of breast cancer, it is worthwhile to note that the Avon Foundation for Women is a501(c)(3) public charity that is proudly the largest corporate-affiliated supporter of the breastcancer cause. Since 1992 more than $700 million has been provided in 55 countries for researchinto prevention and cure, and programs that enable access to quality care for all.The Avon Foundation’s commitment to help eradicate breast cancer is profound. It willcontinually address unmet needs, identify the greatest opportunities for progress and determinewhere the best science is being conducted.Avon Products Inc. is committed to the safety of our consumers, and to serving as a change agentin critical issues such as breast cancer. We take this mission very seriously and we remaincommitted to making a positive difference where we can.