Are Chemicals Making Us Fat, Sick and Infertile?

They almost had to scrape me off the linoleum floor at Walgreens when I saw those questions on the pages of a certain glossy magazine. There I was flipping through the May issue of Glamour when I saw it: the very first article ever printed in a major women’s magazine about the serious health threat of chemicals in cosmetics and other consumer products.

Kudos to the editors of Glamour magazine for having the guts to print it and to Melinda Wenner Moyer for laying out the facts with impeccable research and an obviously exhaustive round of expert interviews.

The article, illustrated with a pair of mud-caked stiletto heels (?), is titled, “The New Toxic Threat to Women’s Health: They’re in your bathroom, your kitchen, your fridge — and mounting research hints they could be wreaking havoc on your weight, fertility and immune system.”

I especially love the first sentence: “If you’ve read the news lately, you’ve probably stumbled across headlines about the health risks posed by chemicals in your sports bottle, personal care products or food containers [thanks for noticing, we're working on it over here!] … So just how concerned should we be? Very, say 13 prominent experts interviewed by Glamour — especially because women may be particularly vulnerable.”

The article goes on to cite the recent President’s Cancer Panel report, quote many MDs and PhDs, and cite decades of research indicating that chemicals commonly used in plastics, cosmetics and other products can scramble our hormones and harm our health in many subtle and not-so-subtle ways.

Please take a few minutes to thank Glamour magazine with a Facebook post or letter to the editor at letters@glamour.com. I’m rushing to post this now because many people are asking for the link and stay tuned so I can tell you why you’ll probably never read this story in the pages of Vogue …

50 Responses to “Are Chemicals Making Us Fat, Sick and Infertile?”

  1. Lisa Says:

    LOVE THIS!!!!!!!! I have so many infertile friends that don’t believe me when I tell them to quit using toxic products. Glamours article is going to help my cause!

  2. Maria Says:

    Agree 100% with the above post! People think I’m crazy when this topic comes up – I think they’re crazy for not pausing to listen to a different point of view. Thank so so much for bringing this to mainstream media.

  3. Elaine Robinson Says:

    60% of what we put on our skin goes right into the bloodstream. Then people wonder what is wrong. I encourage everyone to go to http://www.cosmeticdatabase.com and type in products or ingredients and see just how bad it all is. On a positive note. there are companies out there who claim to be all natural or organic which is not entirely true. The new HAVVN product line of Day Cream, Night Cream and Activating (anti-aging) cream is 100% total chemical free. Their whole line coming out soon will be 100% chemical free also.

  4. Tamara Roe Says:

    Thank you for bringing all the above truth out in the open! It’s about time we start taking what we all know to be true more seriously.

  5. Connie McKnight Says:

    Finally! Way to go Glamour.

    When I was first educated by Not Just a Pretty Face, I was appalled. That was a couple of years ago. Since then I’ve been actively educating my friends, family, and anyone else that will listen, on the toxic chemicals found in our personal care products. I’ve even done a blog posts on the subject. I’m so glad to see magazines like Glamour getting on the band wagon.

    Thanks for the post.

    Connie

  6. Charlotte Schroots Says:

    This is what I am saying for so long, but nobdoy takes its seriously. Here in Holland it is an upcoming subject, but the media is still picking up on it. I hope that the same article will be in the Dutch Glamour soon!

  7. Tamara Reeves Says:

    Our naturopathic product & service company Natural Graces has been trying to get the word out for over 6 years now that ‘natural is more bio-compatible’! Thank goodness for organizations like Cosmetic Data Base and publications like Galmour helping this cause. If we can make healthier choices for ourselves, we help each other build a healthier greener future for the next generation! Thank you to all who are getting on the GREENER bandwagon! ;)

  8. Elizabeth Says:

    Have you ever tried the garlic experiment? Cut a clove of garlic and rub it on the sole of the foot, back of the ankle or inside the wrist and in 15-30 minutes you can taste garlic in your mouth. A great way to show people how their skin absorbs what is put on it! So why not put good for you things on your skin and reap the benefits of absorption rather than soaking in nasty chemicals!! I’m enjoying 100% Pure cosmetics and skin care products myself :-)

  9. Stacy Malkan Says:

    I just recently heard that about the garlic experiment! I have not tried it but that is very intriguing. I also heard from a biochemist/MD the other day that by the time you can smell chemicals (from fragrance, etc), they are already in your blood stream!

  10. Amy Rueda Says:

    Bravo Glamour! As a two year 38 year old carcinoid cancer survivor I applaud your spotlight on this very important topic! Researching skincare and beauty products on http://www.cosmeticsdatabase shortly after my diagnosis inspired me to start my own skincare company. Here is my survivor story http://authenticskin.tumblr.com/post/1367737832/in-honor-of-nov-10th-worldwide-net-cancer-awareness
    Keep bringing awareness to this very important woman’s cause!
    Amy Rueda

  11. Jo Says:

    I buy NOTHING that is not evaluated and produces good numbers on the EWG’s Skin Deep Database. It just isn’t worth the risk.

  12. Julie Weishaar Says:

    Thanks for sharing this info. We all see a huge increase in people being stricken with cancer and wonder what is going on. Thanks for shedding some light on what some of the possible causes are. Will be sharing…….

  13. Sylvia Mertins Says:

    Thank you for taking this step, Glamour! Check out this website for an extremely clean skin care line: http://www.awakenmysenses.com

    The creator and owner of Awaken My Senses uses certified organic vegetable oils and essential oils. No nasty chemicals, fragrances, fillers or toxins. It’s like food for the skin.

  14. Sandra Says:

    The database is a valuable resource, but we all need to use it properly. An ingredient ranking a ’0′ or a product with ‘good’ numbers does not = safe. Many of the zeros and low numbers on ingredients are due to data gap… not necessarily that the ingredient is safe. The database explains this and yet many people ignore that information and jump to conclusions. We also need to remember that there are unscrupulous companies out there who are taking advantage of that and advertising their zero (or low number) rating in the database when all they’re really doing, is using ingredients that have insufficient data. The database is a valuable tool, but it is up to US to use it properly. A hammer is a valuable tool but if we use it incorrectly, it becomes a weapon; so too with the database. Read the results… don’t just look at the scores!

  15. Tess Says:

    @ Elizabeth – I used to LOVE 100% Pure but found out recently their products contain some not-so-pure ingredients.
    Check out this article: http://chemicaloftheday.squarespace.com/most-controversial/2010/4/23/100-pure-responds-to-honeysuckle-extract-claims-mudslinging.html
    :(

  16. Catherine Says:

    I’m very happy that it’s finally printed in this magazine!! We all have to give YOU credit though. Stacy, YOU are the one who started it all!! :)

  17. mina Says:

    Can I get an AMEN?!!

  18. mina Says:

    Can I get an AMEN!?!

  19. Chrystal @ Happy Mothering Says:

    This is so great. I’ve shared it on facebook on both of my pages!
    http://www.facebook.com/avleader
    http://www.facebook.com/happymothering

  20. Melissa@Only Green Genes Says:

    Thanks for sharing! It is SO important for woman to realize that there are options out there and we don’t have to pay a price for beauty! Check out http://www.onlygreengenes.com for some fantastic options!

  21. Kristine Williams Says:

    Yay, Glamour! Finally, a women’s magazine that doesn’t treat women like a bunch on stupid tarts. Make-up companies, pay attention. Advertisers, PAY ATTENTION.

  22. barry Says:

    You don’t need a person with a Phd to comment on the effects of chemicals on skin to make the news and astound us with a revelation that most of this products are harmful.
    The sad fact is we are mass consumers, if you stop using cosmetics, stopped smoking and drinking the country would go broke, add gambling to that list, think of the unemployment,
    the effect goes on, live longer collect a pension from the government after your super runs out, they won’t be happy parting with our tax dollars.
    So next time you are shopping think about what you are buying and why,,, do I really need it, can I do with out the eyeliner or on the other hand the good old toxic hair spray.
    We love our girls tarted up but natural isn’t so bad.

  23. Tricia @ HandMade Body Care Says:

    This is great! As a aesthetician and manufacturer of safe, natural, handmade skin care… I am so happy to hear that our voice is getting louder and getting across to so many women.

  24. Mary Says:

    I have been directing people to wonderful toxin-free products for many years now. People’s health problems can turn around just by changing the bathroom and household products. Have a look at my website and contact me if you want to know more. I am really happy to do that!

  25. Christine Weeber Says:

    Thank you so much for your post! As someone whose life was turned upside down by moving into a rental house that had five room deodorizers throughout, I am thrilled to see Glamour finally stepping up to the plate. Eight years later and I still get very ill from perfumes/cologne, fragranced cleaning products, bathrooms that have room deodorizers in them, fragranced laundry soap/fabric softener that lingers on people’s clothing, etc. I had to get rid of everything that was in that house and start over. So many of these product ingredients are not tested. We are the guinea pigs, but no one is tracking our exposures and responses. Knowledge is power! Thanks for being part of changing this reality!

  26. NyNita Says:

    The fat and sick is very troubling. Actually, it’s a good thing for lots of infertility. I’m a staunch believer in a very strict mandatory sterilization program in order to decrease the population (no, I’m not a right wing nutjob either – I’m very left leaning – I’m not a globalist – I’m not a corporatist – I just simply think that at most, any male or female should only produce a maximum of 2 children). There’s a reason for infertility – if God does not think you should be a parent then he creates sterility. QUIT STRESSING OVER INFERTILITY – SHEESH – FEMALES AREN’T MALES’ PROPERTY AND WE ARE NOT BROOD MARES. Wasting money and wasting insurance benefits on useless fertility treatments is just plain stupid.

  27. Ray Says:

    Its a shocker to learn how many brands get away with polluting other people’s skin with chemicals. Avon, Garnier, Revlon, L’Oreal – should all be ashamed including Palmolive. Although as a double whammy these companies should come clean on their animal testing. Avon declares that they do not require their suppliers to animal test, but they don’t say they will refuse suppliers that do! Glad I’m involved with a European certified brand, know as http://www.germancare.com.au – paraben free!

  28. Karli from Curly Hairdo Ideas Says:

    YAY!!! This is fabulous!! I write about this kind of thing on my children’s hair care blog – and it’s met with usually a good reception, but it’s not like getting an article out in that much mainstream! Fabulous!!! :D Now to get more…. ;-)
    ~Karli

  29. Michele Earlewine Says:

    Congratulations to Glamour! I did find it slightly ironic that the article was sandwiched in between an ad for “lift the flap and sniff” cologne and an ad to put a chemical on your eyelid to grow more eyelashes. At least it’s a huge step in the right direction. So nice to meet you in person, Stacy, at the Pink Skies opener in L.A. a couple of weeks ago! We are actually meeting with a Susan G. Komen rep in a couple of days and will take your book with us! Thanks so much for all you do to help make our world safer and less toxic!

  30. maría Says:

    At last! It may have its flaws but at leasst it’s a large article on a popular women magazine, so that means a lot of people will see it and read it :)

  31. Roberta Prada Says:

    Thank you Glamor! There are so many toxic things over which we have very little control but what we put on our own bodies and use in our houses for cleaning are very much within our control.
    It would be great to get at particular brands.
    Chanel has fabulous colors, but last I looked they were dirty.
    Aveda was so clean when it started and now it is no longer clean. Its creator has moved on as well.
    I understand he used to eat his products to show how safe they were.

  32. Hillary Says:

    Thank you Stacy and Lisa for your tireless efforts. Thanks to you, I have lived a safer existence for many years. Thanks to Glamour’s willingness to upset advertisers, many more will do the same. As a cancer survivor, I am so grateful for this!

  33. Kelly Hahn Says:

    Thank you Glamour, for being brave when the women of the world needed you to! Thank you Stacy, for opening our eyes. You must all understand that their is no regulation of personal care products labeling practices. Something touted as natural or organic can be full of toxins and contain minimal or even no healthy ingredients. Skin Deep is a useful tool, but you do have to look beyond the numbers. Gaps in data can lead to innaccuracy and on the flip side, a small amount of a very beneficial Certified organic essential oil can lead to a high number for a product free of toxins if it causes occasional irritation in some people. Follow the precautionary principle, if it isn’t proven safe AND effective, don’t use it. Neals Yard Remedies (UK) & now NYR Organic in the US has been doing it for 30 years this year. I am a proud Founding Leader with this great company here in the US. I am an obsessive label reader for 7 years. :)

  34. Sarah Says:

    @Sandra – well said! I wish EWG had the resources to be the type of cosmetics database that we need but until then it’s only a starting point for further research, not the final authority.

    Good for Glamour, hopefully their readers will take it to heart!

  35. Melinda Wenner Moyer Says:

    So glad you enjoyed my article. I was so thrilled when Glamour asked me to write it — SUCH an important topic. I’m happy to see it’s reaching so many young women!

  36. Stacy Malkan Says:

    Thanks Melinda, your work very much appreciated! And thanks to everyone for writing such kind words. This is truly the effort of so many people, including all of you! It’s really gratifying to be part of a movement that is helping to raise consciousness at this critical and crazy time.
    Blessings to all,
    Stacy

  37. Elise Says:

    It’s great to see this article! I love EWG and all they do. Although I found out about EWG and the cosmetic data base while reading the Oprah Magazine, probably a couple of years ago. It was an interview with the president of EWG and it changed the way I live and what products I buy. I’ve been a huge advocate ever since, so glad to see it is catching on more and more!

  38. Maria Jackson Says:

    This is an absolute fantastic article. One wonders why manufacturers are still using the same old, artificial, toxic formulations when there are great natural alternatives. One just has to look at the range of beauty products offers by a retailer like http://www.naturisimo.com, dedicated to natural beauty products, to realise today no one has to use conventional products any longer. Big thumbs up to Melinda Wenner Moyer for genuine journalism and to Glamour for having the courage to publish it.

  39. Ash Says:

    I am glad to see this! I do have to say, my concern is finding alternative products at reasonable costs. Unfortunately budgets are tight for lots of people right now. So products that are double the cost (but chemical-free) of what someone was using previously may not be feasible for their pocket book. So they are going to opt for the cheaper not-so-good for you product. Sad, but realistic.

  40. Stacy Malkan Says:

    Hi Ash, I agree cost is a big concern, it’s one reason why it’s so important that we also work to change the laws to require companies to phase out the most dangerous chemicals. Also check out my recent blog post, Five Tips for Frugal Shoppers: http://notjustaprettyface.org/blog/five-tips-for-frugal-shoppers

  41. Sarah Hamilton Says:

    I just wanted to comment to say I have shared this on my natural skincare blog BEskincareful
    http://beskincareful.blogspot.com/2011/04/us-glamour-speaks-out.html
    I hope that’s ok because I want to spread the word!
    Intrigued to read the post you refer to about never seeing this kind of article in Vogue! Tell us more!! xx

  42. Gwen Dear Halsey Says:

    Love that you are getting the word out & educating people about the harm that chemicals are doing to our bodies! Thank you! I am also a label reader after becoming informed via friends in Arbonne years ago. I use and rep both Arbonne and Shaklee products as both are committed to being safe, pure, and beneficial. Parabens are NOT our friends!

  43. Andrew Blume Says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this valuable information. I am getting back into my Professional and Personal Wellness Consulting Business. This is the type of third party materials that share with the public that which many of us knew for Decades. Looking forward to your next article.
    Blessings and Best of Health and Wellness to ALL!

  44. Roann Says:

    Bravo Glamour and Bravo Melinda for printing the truth and for putting the safety of your readers first!! There are companies who formulate safe, beneficial products and offer them to comsumers at a discount. I offer that opportunuty to people every day!

  45. Stacy Lee Says:

    Thank you! Educating people is so important. Check out this website for Swiss formulated botanical products http://www.stacyleefarber.myarbonne.com

    We have been around for 31 years!

  46. toni worthington Says:

    i myself had trouble over the years with miscarriages, adult acne, and a whole bunch of other things that i now know could have been in part to the chemicals in the products i was using. i now use Arbonne and absolutely love the results i get day after day and no more hives and itching, no more breakouts and many other things that i thought i just had to live with. i decided to become an Arbonne consultant so i could share this amazing product with everyone and not have to worry about sharing harmful product with those i love.

  47. Charlie Says:

    So many things that claim to be “natural”, “green” or “organic” are not. Arbonne is a great example! Stacy and Gwen, check your labels. Things are NOT the same! Why don’t they make their ingredients available to clients who want to check it out. Be smart consumers and distributors. Do your research!

  48. Mia Says:

    Yes, thanks Glamour for the great piece, and thanks Stacy for this blog! The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics gets Qs about Arbonne so often that we wrote up the FAQ and put it on our website (http://www.safecosmetics.org/article.php?id=281):

    Q: I don’t see Arbonne, Avon, Mary Kay, Melaleuca or other similar companies listed on your website, even though they claim to be “safe,” “natural” or donate money to breast cancer research. What’s the deal?

    A: Arbonne, Avon, Mary Kay and Melaleuca are aware of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics but have refused to sign it. If they are truly supporting women’s health and making “safe” products, it shouldn’t be too hard for them to sign the Compact. Hundreds of companies have signed the Compact, a commitment to manufacture personal care products free of known and suspected toxic chemicals.

    The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics does not endorse or hand-pick “safe” companies to refer customers to. The growing list of safer companies on our Web site is comprised solely of companies that have signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics. If you don’t see a company on the list, we encourage you to send a letter letting them know about the Compact and urging them to sign it.

    For a sample letter to get you started, please check out the Materials section of the website.

  49. Mary Says:

    Check out this website for safe, toxin-free products that are turning people’s lives around:
    http://www.newheartlife.com
    We need to care for our children. Their bodies are smaller and the toxins fill them faster!

  50. Carroll Polizio Says:

    Alyssa, I don’t know how you managed it, but you actually look YOUNGER now than ever!!! Motherhood really does agree with you!! You are my fav actress of all time, as we have grown up together! SO looking forward to your new movie thats coming out!! Your son is adorable!!! It is so obvious by the expression on your face that you are smitten and inlove….

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