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October 2017
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Dirty Dozen Toxics in our Bathroom

bathroomDirty Dozen Toxics in our Bathroom

      by Anna Domalewska (439573)

On an usual morning or afternoon we spent time in our bathroom and use a daily dose of personal care products. Under the shower it is more likely to sing, as worrying about what exactly has been hiding in those nice looking tubes and bottles, which were bought round the corner in a drug store. But what do we know exactly about the active substances of shampoos, fragrances, skin care products or make-up? Reading the product descriptions we probably only know that these can make us young, fresh, vitalizing, seductive, ambrosial and in the future maybe even immoral. However, what we don´t know or block out is that we should be careful with these magical elixir bottles and doses, because their substances are not even miraculous at all.

 What the scientifics can tells us      science

Dr. Joseph Mercola from the University Illinois in Chicago explains the process precisely on a molecularly level and states that some active substances in beauty products can be absorbed through the skin and get straight into our bloodstream and delicate organs without filtering, because there are no necessary enzymes, which can break down those harmful substances.

Once these chemicals find their way into your body, they tend to accumulate over time […]

The ugly truth is, that we contaminated from head to toe not only by our food but also through our beloved personal care products. Some products contain plasticizers, degreasers and surfactants chemicals that are used in washing powder or detergents and cause cancer or allergic skin-irritations. One of those dangerous ingredients is Sodium Laureth Sulfate, which is internationally present in most shampoos or even in toothpastes, make-up or bath salts.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), Coming Clean and Health Care Without Harm tested 2002 some American personal care products like shampoos, deodorants and fragrances for the presence of phthalates. Phthalates are linked to birth defects, asthma and any kind of hormone disruption which cause early puberty and decreased sperm count. More than 70% of the products contained at least one phthalate and none of it was listed on the label. Because if it is a component of a fragrance, companies are not require to label it in the US. Anyway other examples are the lead in Maybelline, L´Oréal or NARS lipsticks, other hormone disruptors in nail polishes or sunscreens.

 Toxics in Baby Products baby

Who is suspecting that even baby shampoos can be risky? In 2009 the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics reported that Baby Shampoo from the most trusted brand Johnson´s, sold in America, Canada, China, Indonesia and Australia,  along with many other children´s bath products, contained the hormone disruptor phthalate and substances linked to cancer. Unfortunately lessons have not been learned in the beauty industry. After the huge scandal and petitions towards Johnson´s, Johnson´s removed at least a few years later those products whereas L´Oréal is repeating the same mistakes thatwere in public criticized. In 2014 the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics published on their website, that L´Oréal is using in kinder shampoos ingredients linked to allergies and cancer.

Labels that betray their values are not rarely. Beauty company Esteé Lauder claims to care about woman with breast cancer and marks their products with pink ribbons. The contradiction is however that Esteé Lauder and other famous beauty brands like Bobby Brown or Clinque raised help funds to support the defeat of breast cancer, while using at the same time toxic ingredients known to cause cancer or endocrine or neurological problems.

Other traps are those products, which are simply tagged or labelled with words as ‘natural’, ‘organic’ or ‘biological’. Furthermore those tags are not legally defined and can appear without any reason. Actually Procter and Gamble offers in their Herbal Essences shampoos no organic or natural herbals at all but rather high concentrations of petrochemicals.

What does the law?

Our society is confronted with the double standard of cosmetic products. The regulations are extremely different even in First World countries. The US has no sufficient laws to protect the consumers from potential toxic personal care products. The FDA has still only 11 toxics banned and the government literally does not require any mandatory testing for most products before they are being sold. In Europe are remarkable 1,328 chemicals banned, which suspected to cause cancer, genetic mutation, reproductive harm or birth defects. As we can see the standards differ extremely not to speak here of other countries. The interest to protect citizens from hazardous cosmetic products is quite slight. In a century of globalization and broad global trade networks with trade agreements like TTIP, consumers can´t feel certain anymore about their health. Toxic chemical products lurk everywhere and can also accidentally slip under non-contaminated products or brought from vacation or bought in unsafety online-shops.

You are worth it                           F_30899               

There is no one who can guarantee us our own health and the health of our children, family members or friends. Every time we buy beauty products, we take a risk, which cannot even be taken by an expensive product price. It is in our own responsibility to take care of ourselves and fight for the right that no one should have legally the permission to poison and trash our environment. It is only in our interest to think sustainable. Brands try to earn our trust, even if they don´t deserve it. It is not too late to be an aware consumer, who looks forward and searches for alternatives. There are some companies who offer non-contaminated personal care products and there are published listings with names of toxic ingredients.


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