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Tag: campaign for safe cosmetics

Where to Find Safe and Natural Cosmetics and Skin Care Products

Where do you look for make-up and skin care that you can feel safe using? Try Natural Solutions: Holistic Beauty, Body, & Bath, a healthy-minded collection of products free of chemicals, parabens, phthalates, petrolateum and other nasty ingredients found  in most standard make-up products.Safe and healthy cosmetics and skin care.

What’s the problem with all these chemicals in your cosmetics and skin-care products?

Don’t forget that our skin is our largest and most absorbent organ. These dirty ingredients are scientifically proven to be carcinogenic as well as to disrupt hormones and mess with the endocrine system. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics continues to ask the giant cosmetic companies, particularly those “pink ribbon” companies that support breast cancer research, to pledge to remove these chemicals in their products that have been so linked to breast cancer. So far, none have agreed to put the safety of their customers above the hassle of reformulating their products to be safe to use.

Not only can you trust every single product Natural Solutions carries to be as safe as possible (and many of the items show off their low ratings from the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Safety Database as proof!), but most of the cosmetics are available to try in sample sizes that cost only $1-3. What a brilliant idea! It makes it easy to try out a few colors of a new foundation or eyeshadow without committing to a full product.

Natural Solutions has a brick-and-mortar store in Salem, Ohio, but their extensive catalog is available online everywhere.

FDA tests Show Popular Lipsticks Containing High Levels of Lead

The FDA has spent the last five years testing the lead levels in hundreds of brands of lipstick. About 400 tubes were found to contain above average amounts of lead. What they haven’t tested is the effect that lead is having on women who wear these lipsticks.

“Just because there’s lead in lipstick does not mean that there’s a danger. It takes a lot of lead over a long period of time to cause symptoms or damage,” according to Dr. Bruce Hensel in an NBC report.

lead in lipstickWith all due respect, Dr. Hensel, as I said in a 2008 post on lead in lipstick, I don’t believe that any levels of lead could be healthful in a product that gets eaten off your lips and reapplied constantly.  Heavy metal toxicity can be slow, insidious, and catastrophic to your health.

The FDA has been receiving suggestions to look into lead in lipstick since the 1990s, in particular the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has put on the pressure, so I’m glad they’re moving on it now. Let’s hope they don’t bend to the cosmetics industry who would like to keep their million-dollar formulas intact, even at the expense of their consumer’s health.

For me, the most surprising brand to see in the top ten highest levels of lead was a lipstick from The Body Shop. It just doesn’t seem to conform to the mission of its founder, the late, great, Anita Roddick. Maybe they just didn’t know.

If you suspect you might be suffering from heavy metal toxicity, some signs you can check for are a black tongue or black veins on the underside of the tongue, or a thin black line stretching horizontally across the base of your fingernails. There are a number of ways you can eliminate the heavy metals from your body, some safer than others, so research carefully before undertaking any treatment.

Dangerous Chemicals in Your Perfumes

Fragrances are designed to make you smell good, but is that all they are doing? In a recently released study of 17 name-brand fragrances co-authored by the Environmental Working Group and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, they found that they contain secret ingredients – chemicals not listed on the label – with troubling hazardous properties.

It looks like “natural fragrances” may mean as much as “natural flavors” do on a label in terms of the chemical load they bring to your body.

The study found 38 unlisted chemicals in the testing. The average fragrance tested contained 14 secret chemicals. Among them are chemicals associated with hormone disruption and allergic reactions, and many substances that have not been assessed for safety in personal care products by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the industry’s own safety panel.

How many secret chemicals do such popular fragrances like Chanel Coco and Old Spice contain? Check out the full report on chemicals in fragrances and you’ll see that Coco has 18 distressing chemicals and Old Spice has 16 ingredients not reported on the label.

In 1973 Congress passed the federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act. The law, which requires companies to list cosmetics ingredients on the product labels, specifically exempts fragrances. Since then, the vague word “fragrance” is all you’ll find on the label. If there’s anything to be grateful for in this, it’s that “fragrance” is a recognizable word that is easily avoided by label readers.

Personally, I avoid all synthetic “fragrances” whenever possible, including in laundry detergents, shampoos, body products, and non-organic-based candles. I believe most air fresheners are some of the worst toxins that you can add to your environment — and they’re designed to encourage you to smell deeply and carry all those chemicals deep into your lungs.

I think dryer sheets are bad, too, and I encourage you to stop using them as they infuse your clothes with these synthetic fragrances so that you can be continually exposed to these dangerous chemicals each and every day.

The FDA has not assessed the vast majority of these secret fragrance chemicals for safety when used in spray-on personal care products such as fragrances. Most have not even been evaluated by the safety review panel of the International Fragrance Association (IFRA) or any other publicly accountable institution.

Of the chemicals that have been tested, there isn’t a lot of good news. The vague term “fragrance” covers chemicals that can be linked to reproductive damage, hormone disruption, and can trigger allergic reactions.

Fragrances may be designed to make us smell better and feel good about ourselves, but as the EWG points out, “we don’t know how you can feel good when you don’t know what you are putting on your body.”

So what’s a girl to do when she wants to float in a sweet smelling cloud without taxing her body’s tolerance levels?

Chemical perfumes add to the air pollution we breathe in every day. Take steps to minimize your exposure when possible.

Be sure to check out my upcoming post on custom-blended pure aroma perfumes, look for soy or beeswax candles scented with natural tinctures, and consider practicing aromatherapy using only quality uncontaminated oils and tinctures.

Natural Petroleum-free Mascara

I’ve been searching for a good mascara that wouldn’t coat my lashes with a film of petroleum. Recently, a salesclerk at Vitamin Cottage pointed me to No Miss Natural Mascara.

I have to say that I’ve been very pleased not only with how it goes on, but also with how it stays on and how easily it comes off with soap and water.

Other natural mascaras I’ve tried have left me with heavy black smudges below my eyes as the makeup sank off of my lashes. Some have gone on so gloppy that I’ve had to use several cotton swabs to mop up the mess when my upper lashes flicked wetly against my eyelid.

While I confess that I am not a mascara expert — my lashes used to be so long and thick that they would brush the lenses of my sunglasses so I never wore mascara until recently! Alas, they thinned after childbearing. Sigh. — I have tried the top pick by many beauty magazines (Maybelline) and many other brands both conventional and natural (including Prescriptives, Aveda, CoverGirl, EyesLipsFace, Clinique, Loreal, etc.).

The thing is, I have been concerned about conventional mascaras for a while. Why? Let’s take Almay’s Amazing Lush Lash mascara, as an example. Almay claims to be “hypoallergenic,” which I have often interpreted as “cleaner.” My mistake.

This Almay mascara garners a 7 (10 being the most dangerous) in the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics Skin Deep database of cosmetics and includes this warning:

Ingredients in this product are linked to:
yes Cancer
yes Developmental/reproductive toxicity
yes Violations, restrictions & warnings
yes Allergies/immunotoxicity
yes Other concerns for ingredients used in this product:
Neurotoxicity, Endocrine disruption, Persistence and bioaccumulation, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Multiple, additive exposure sources, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Enhanced skin absorption, Contamination concerns, Occupational hazards, Biochemical or cellular level changes

Yep: I find those pretty frightening words for something I intend to paint onto my eyelashes and let soak in all day. Hence my search for a better mascara.

No Miss All Natural Mascara is as good a product or better then the conventional kind, and ever so much better for my body and the environment. Let me know if you’ve found some other great natural mascaras!

Does voting with your food dollars make a difference?

I love to remind people that each time we choose an organic item over it’s conventional counterpart, we are voting with our dollars. In a capitalist market-driven economy, where there is demand the supply will increase to meet that demand.

In her Huffington Post article, “Vote First, Eat Later,” Susanne Freidberg reminds us that the dollars we spend on food purchases don’t necessarily influence farm legislation, food safety inspections, or desperately needed corporate oversight of the mega food producers.

” But as foods labeled organic and local become more available,” she notes, “it’s worth remembering that these alternatives do not guarantee better working conditions for farm and packhouse workers. They do not touch the crop subsidies that fuel overproduction at home and hunger abroad. They do not fix the weak food safety laws that sent consumers searching for alternatives in the first place.”

I agree, Susanne. Thanks for bringing up a good point. It’s easy to focus on the trees and forget the forest around us.

Susanne points out that many groups are working to overhaul the USDA, strengthen farm workers’ rights, and counter the agribusiness lobby. “These activities deserve our support, yet tend to get overshadowed by shopping tips aimed at “changing the world with every bite.” Wouldn’t it be better if we did not feel obliged to do this? Informed consumer buying power is not trivial. It is also no substitute for political actions to empower everybody to worry less about their food, and enjoy it more.”

Here are some of my favorite groups to support in this mission. Share your favorites in the comments below!

– Environmental Working Group and their Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

– Organic Consumers Association

– Oceana

Safe Tables Our Priority (S.T.O.P.)

Slow Food