In my recent blog about the documentary Pink Ribbons Inc I touched on how shocked I was by the suspected links between beauty products and breast cancer. Amazing strides have been made to identify that not all breast cancers are the same but we still don't know what causes most cancers. Very few are genetic so we need a great deal of research into the causes of cancer.
Now I'm not going to be able to cover the huge amount of information available on the suspected links between beauty products and cancer, but I am going to give you some resources to explore further and leave you with some questions you might want to ponder. Plus there's a boob-friendly giveaway for you to enter too!
How can my makeup be harming my breasts?
Pink Ribbons Inc (and many other activists) want effective research into possible links between the increasing number of chemicals in our makeup and beauty products and the rising number of breast cancer cases. Considering the average woman uses 12 beauty products a day and many are known to contain carcinogenics (cancer causing chemicals) it's not a massive logical leap. Very few beauty products are regulated for health safety and groups like Breast Cancer Action want Government co-operation and industry transparency so that effective research can be done. The video below demonstrates how our beauty products could be linked to cancer and also defines irony:
Who Knew There was Lead in my Lipstick?!
Chemicals such as lead, arsenic and a multitude of carcinogenics are found in products that we put on our bodies and faces every day. Organizations like Campaign for Safe Cosmetics are pushing for there to be more transparency about the chemicals that are in these products so that women can make informed choices.
Products in the US are still allowed to include chemicals that have been banned in Canada, the UK and large parts of Europe. There are arguments on both sides of the coin about how safe/dangerous these chemicals are but I really don't think women have any clue that these chemicals are in our beauty products in the first place - I didn't! I didn't realize that I could be absorbing (and ingesting in the case of lipstick) deadly chemicals in however small a dose. Why does my lipstick have lead in it when it was banned in paint and pencils decades ago!?!?
I scraped by in Chemistry and Biology so I'm no scientist, however, I've read enough Agatha Christie to know that Arsenic rarely ends well. So when I learned that Clinique Stay True makeup (Stay Ivory) contains arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, nickel, lead, and thallium I was more than a little dumbfounded (results from Environmental Defense Canada). Just to put this in context, this is a list of what these chemicals and heavy metals can do to you in their purest form:
Arsenic: diarrhea, vomiting, cramping, hair loss, stomach pain, convulsions. At worst coma then death
Beryllim: fatigue, weakness, night sweats, difficulty in breathing and a persistent dry cough
Cadmium: tracheo-bronchitis, pneumonitis, pulmonary edema, bone density loss and fracture
Nickel: bronchitis, reduced lung function, cancer of the lung and nasal sinus
Lead: headache, abdominal pain, memory loss, kidney failure, male reproductive problems, and weakness, pain, or tingling in the extremities
Thallium: numbness of fingers and toes,vomiting, diarrhea, temporary hair loss, and effects on the nervous system, lungs, heart, liver, and kidneys. It has caused death.
Why Take the Risk?
OK so my Clinique foundation is not causing my hair to fall out and my toes aren't numb, however, I'm pretty sure that my body would be happier not processing even tiny amounts of these things. What has shocked and infuriated me the most is that there seems to be an industry-wide concealment of the facts. In the US and Canada cosmetics and beauty companies do not need to list ingredients in a product that are the result of a side-effect (i.e. the by-product of mixing one thing with another). Surely we have the right to know the contents of everything we put on or in our bodies.
The Changes I made to my Bathroom Cabinet
After watching the documentary and doing my own digging I decided that I was going to reduce my chemical intake as much as possible so went on the hunt for some friendly products. My first stop was Rocky Mountain Soap company, a Canadian business whose Lip Butter I had already fallen in love with. I knew they did good stuff but I didn't realize that all of their products are 100% chemical free, made in Canada and sustainably produced - now that's good stuff!!
I've been using the little haul above for a couple of weeks now and I'm in total heaven. The pomegranate moisturizer has eliminated my hives (I have crazy sensitive skin) and the soaps create amazing lather. The shampoo and shave bars are Mr Butterfly's and he's even commented on how much better his hair and skin feel.
The ingredients philosophy at Rocky Mountain Soap Co. is "When an ingredient has been identified as potentially harmful it is safest to avoid it. Period." Who knew common-sense could smell so good. I asked the lovely ladies at RMSC if they would like to share some of their Soapy Goodness with my readers and they didn't hesitate! To win their gorgeous Six Soap Collection you simply need to write on their Facebook Page why chemical-free products are important to you and your life. Be sure to "Like" Rocky Mountain's Facebook Page and Butterfly Collection's Page to qualify. We'll announce a winner on March 14th over on our Facebook Page.
I really hope this blog got you thinking about what goes on your body and more importantly, what we deserve to be told about ingredients in our beauty products. Below are some resources to help you find out more as well as some companies providing chemical-free beauty products. xx
|Stacy Malkan's Fascinating Book About Chemicals in our Beauty Products|
EWG Database - Thousands of beauty products analyzed for harmful ingredients
Environmental Defense Canada Report on Heavy Metals in Makeup
Campaign for Safer Cosmetics - with resources for writing to makeup companies like Estee Lauder and Proctor and Gamble about using safer ingredients
The Shocking Story of Toxins in Cosmetics - The original video
Rebuttal to the video above criticizing the information
Breast Cancer Action petition to US government for FDA control of cosmetics and beauty products
Gorgeous Companies Making Chemical-free Beauty Products
Rocky Mountain Soap Company
Liz Earle Makeup and Beauty Products
Suki Skincare and Makeup