Story of Safe Cosmetics Published in Mandarin, Korean

November 28th, 2011 at 3:11 pm by Stacy Malkan

Some months it just rains and pours good stuff. Thank you, November! For one thing, I just found out that my book, “Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry,” is now available in the world’s most widely spoken language, Mandarin. The book has been published in Taiwan by the publishing house Shy Mau, ISBN # 978-986-2590-08-9.

“Not Just a Pretty Face” tells the inside story of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a coalition of nonprofit health groups that are giving the $50 billion beauty industry a safety makeover. The book chronicles the quest that led a group of breast cancer activists to the doors of the world’s largest cosmetics companies to ask some tough questions:

  • Why do they market themselves as pink ribbon leaders in the fight against breast cancer, yet continue to use chemicals that may contribute to that very disease?
  • Why do they target their products to men and women of childbearing age, yet use chemicals linked to birth defects and infertility?

As doors slammed in our faces, the industry’s toxic secrets began to emerge. The good news is that although the big companies are still using hazardous chemicals, scientists are developing green chemistry technologies, and entrepreneurs are building businesses based on the values of health and justice.

“Not Just a Pretty Face” is also available in Korean, and it has won numerous awards and accolades. The English version is available here.

More good stuff

Thanks to Experience Life Magazine for recognizing me as one of “five visionaries who are leading the charge to better health, and a healthier world.” It’s an honor to be included among such esteemed company as Annie Leonard, Dr. Mark Hyman, Frank Forencich and Jamie Oliver.

In case you missed it, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics recently scored a huge victory when Johnson & Johnson agreed to reformulate hundreds of baby products worldwide to remove chemicals linked to cancer.  Yay for babies!

Coming soon: More great news about hundreds of companies that are showing it’s possible to make great products without using hazardous chemicals and without hiding ingredients from consumers. Stay tuned…

Corporations: Invest in Safer Products, Not Spin Doctors!

November 17th, 2011 at 7:44 am by Stacy Malkan

What do climate-science deniers and “spin doctors” who attack environmental health protections have in common?  They’re like moths to the flame of an activist victory for safer products. Ever since my organization succeeded in pressuring Johnson & Johnson to get carcinogens out of its baby products,  the “boys who know best” are coming round to tell us not to worry our pretty little heads about cancer-causing chemicals in baby shampoo.

David Ropeik wins the prize for paternalistic, condescending framing in his Scientific American blog: “Warning! Health Hazards May be Hazardous to Your Health.”

Ropeik warns that “frightened, worried, scared, concerned” moms are at greater risk of stress-related illnesses (irritable bowel syndrome, clinical depression) than babies are at risk from getting cancer from formaldehyde in the bathtub; as if the only choice here is between soaking kids in toxic substances or making mothers sick with worry.

How about if America’s “most-trusted brand” just gets the carcinogens out of baby shampoo? And hey, guess what, Johnson & Johnson has already done that in other countries, where they have better laws, just not here! That’s the kind of thing that really makes moms sick to their stomachs.

Ropeik is described in the article as an instructor at Harvard Extension School, but there’s no mention of his role as a “risk communications” expert; one of those people who gets hired to help corporations spin themselves out of trouble – and spin he has, for clients that include Dow Chemical, DuPont and others working against environmental health protections.

Ropeik may want to pay more attention to the science than the talking points if he’s going to write for Scientific American. The concern about quaternium-15 isn’t just that it emits formaldehyde (a known human carcinogen); dermatologists have been warning for years that the chemical is contributing to higher rates of contact dermatitis.

This sort of detail doesn’t fit with the “how dare you worry moms about chemicals” narrative of folks like Joe Schwarcz, director of McGill University’s Office for Science and Society, who used the space so generously provided him by the Montreal Gazette to make the “Case to Keep Chemical Soup in Baby’s Soap.”

Schwarcz was keynote speaker for this year’s meeting of the Personal Care Products Council (which counts Johnson & Johnson among its members), and is also a consultant for industry who, as described in his bio, “interprets science” for the public.

Joe, I urge you to try out your 2 cubic meter theory on the nearest mom, and ask her if she wouldn’t just rather that her baby’s shampoo contained no formaldehyde at all.

At least Schwarcz admits it’s time to get formaldehyde out of Brazilian Blowout hair straighteners. A recent attack report by the better known and notorious industry front group Competitive Enterprises Institute — leading opponents of the overwhelming science on climate change — starts off on a dubious foot by claiming that the Brazilian Blowout problem was “quickly resolved” (except that it’s still not resolved). And that’s not the only detail in the report that’s opposite of true.

Ah well, consider the source: a group with funding ties to Exxon, Texaco and the Koch family foundation…

As Nicole Abene points out in “Industry-Funded Watchdog Group Says Toxic Chemicals in Cosmetics Are Good for You,” the authors of the report attacking the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics are the same folks who produced a TV commercial advocating for increased carbon-dioxide emissions because it’s “what plants breathe in.”

Following the logic of the chemical industry talking points, a little bit of carcinogen on the head might be just what the baby really needs.

And for moms who disagree, well, we can console ourselves with the knowledge that: We’re winning! Companies are responding to our demands and cleaning up their products, and it isn’t even all that hard for them to do.

As Abene writes, “It was only under significant public pressure that Johnson & Johnson agreed to no longer introduce new products with formaldehyde-releasing ingredients. No one was asking Johnson & Johnson to pull a hat trick—a safer alternative was already available and in production, so why the double standard?”

Here’s hoping the Corporations of America get it that it’s time to invest in a toxic-free future and give the spin doctors a rest.

For Sylvie and all the new babies: No more toxic tears

November 16th, 2011 at 11:30 pm by Stacy Malkan

Congratulations to the great team at Campaign for Safe Cosmetics for getting Johnson & Johnson to commit to removing carcinogens from its baby products. As America’s most trusted brand (according to a recent Forbes survey), J&J owes it to its customers to do the best job it can to make the safest products possible.

The company made a significant step forward today with its pledge to reformulate hundreds of baby products worldwide to remove formaldehyde and 1,4 dioxane. That’s where all baby brands need to be: getting chemicals known to cause cancer in animals out of products used on babies’ bodies.

Many groups and people were involved in this victory — members of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and dozens of ally groups, particularly American Nurses Association — but I want to give a special shout out to a special someone who was instrumental in making this happen, our fearless campaign leader Lisa Archer. Lisa just got home from the hospital with her new baby girl. Welcome to the world Sylvie Linnea Ethier; this one’s for you!

Here’s some great press coverage in Associated Press and Washington Post.

Important links:
March 2009 report “No More Toxic Tub” reveals carcinogens in many baby products
May 2009 letter to Johnson & Johnson from Campaign and allies
Sept. 2009 letter to J&J about its use of quaternium-15
Oct. 31, 2011 letter to J&J about new report “Baby’s Tub is Still Toxic”
Nov. 16, 2011 J&J letter pledging reformulation

The Corporate Pink of Breast Cancer: What do you think?

November 7th, 2011 at 4:16 pm by Stacy Malkan

I’m glad to see the mainstream media finally giving some attention to the question of whether all these pink ribbons are actually helping the breast cancer cause. The New York Times gave serious ink space to the issue, although largely missed the point, with “The Pinking of America” by Natasha Singer last month. And Friday, Forbes posted this comprehensive piece by Amy Westervelt, “The Pinkwashing Debate: Empty Criticism or Serious Liability?”

Serious liability, I say! (and thanks to Amy for quoting me in the story). As I wrote in the comments, I was dismayed to read that Elizabeth Thompson, president of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, thinks environmental links to cancer are based not on evidence but on “beliefs and emotion.” Ms. Thompson should take a look at the 2007 study commissioned by her own organization with the Silent Spring Institute, which identified 216 chemicals that cause breast cancer in animals that are widely detected in human tissues and in environments, like the home, where women spend time.

Because exposure to these chemicals is so widespread, “the public health impacts of reducing exposure would be profound even if the true relative risks are modest,” the researchers wrote. “If even a small percentage is due to preventable environmental factors, modifying these factors would spare thousands of women.”

I would also suggest Ms. Thompson take a look at the President’s Cancer Panel report of 2010, which states that the “true burden of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated” and calls for immediate action to reduce carcinogens in the environment.  Also on the reading list should be the Breast Cancer Fund’s State of the Evidence report, which documents hundreds of studies linking chemical exposures and radiation to increased breast cancer risk.

Unfortunately, the big breast cancer charities seem to have taken on the mentality of the corporations that fund them — growth for the sake of growth, whatever it takes. The original intent of the pink ribbon as an advocacy tool has long been  buried in an avalanche of marketing hype to sell products and goodwill for corporations that are contributing to the problem by selling unhealthy products and/or putting carcinogens into the environment and our bodies.

What do you think? Is there no such thing as too much pink (as Nancy Brinker told the NYT)? Or is it time to pressure Susan G. Komen for the Cure and other big cancer charities to stop partnering with corporations that are part of the problem and start talking seriously about prevention?

I’d love to hear your comments…

More must-read coverage:
Sacramento Bee: “Pink Inc. Has Many Starting to See Red,” by Francesca Lyman
Nancy Brinker’s response: “Too Much Pink? Not while breast cancer still kills”
Marie Claire: “The Big Business of Breast Cancer” by Lea Goldman
Forbes: “Pinkwashing: Corporate Sponsored Cancer,” by Mia Davis, Amy Lubitow
Deseret News: “Are all the pink ribbons helping to cure cancer?” by Sarah Gamble

 

Dove: Please Don’t Hang your Chemicals on My Door Knob

July 7th, 2011 at 3:58 pm by Stacy Malkan

Three cheers to Margot Boyd for sending this poignant letter to Dove and for your commitment to safe cosmetics. Check out Dove’s response below: It’s legal therefore it’s safe. If we only had a dollar for every time we heard that one…

Hello Dove,

Today I discovered at my front door: a Dove advertisement, coupon and a sample of your “nutritive therapy” product that I never requested. A quick check of the ingredients reveals your product contains a litany of toxic substances. To name but a few: 1) Dimethicone, which has been shown to cause tumors and mutations in experimental work with animals; 2) Disodium EDTA, a penetration enhancer that can draw other chemicals into the bloodstream; 3) Petrolatum, a petrochemical that is often contaminated with two well-known carcinogens Benzo-A-Pyrene and Benzo-B-Fluroanthene; and 4) Methylisothiazolinone, a suspected neurotoxin and a known human immune system toxicant.

I do not allow Dove products in my home. I would not use them on my body, or allow my husband/children to use them. I would not rinse your products down the sink for the aquatic life in Lake Ontario to have to deal with. (Nor do I relish the thought of drinking it in our tap water afterwards…) I will not contribute to the Pink Ribbon campaign due to your participation in it. I am appalled by your seductive advertising to women whom I feel are unsuspecting.

So now to properly dispose of the ‘hazardous waste’ you have left at my door, I will have to take it to the proper City drop off depot. The damage and costs you cause people and the environment are not insubstantial. I would appreciate you picking up your parcel and properly disposing of it according to the City of Toronto hazardous waste materials – which is where your ingredients officially belong.

Yours sincerely,
Margot Boyd

Hi Margot,

Thank you for sharing your  thoughts with our team regarding the sample of Dove Nourishing Oil Care.

All of the ingredients used in our products meet legal standards for health and safety. Both ingredients and finished products are carefully  studied and reviewed internally. In addition, governmental regulatory agencies set guidelines for safety of consumer products that we follow closely.

Our company is committed to providing our consumers with the best quality  products. We will continue to research and develop products that meet our  standards for quality, safety and convenience that also meet consumers tastes  and preferences.

As requested, we will be sending a prepaid label for you to send the product back to our attention.

Your comments are extremely important to us and we  will certainly share them with the appropriate staff.

Take care,
Dove

Safe Cosmetics Act: Good for Babies, Moms and Business

June 24th, 2011 at 2:18 pm by Stacy Malkan

Three cheers to Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Rep. Ed Markey and Rep. Tammy Baldwin for championing women’s health, children’s health and sustainable businesses by introducing the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 today! We love this bill and here’s why it has the full support of the environmental health community:

Current cosmetics laws are 70 years old and failing to protect public health. Under the current law from 1938, manufacturers are allowed to put known carcinogens and other harmful chemicals into personal care products with no required safety assessments. What’s the result of this antiquated system? People are getting sick. For a personal story about why this bill is so important, check out this blog post from a hairstylist who is ill from formaldehyde poisoning.

Other countries are far ahead of the US when it comes to cosmetics safety.
Just look at the Brazilian Blowout scandal. This supposedly “formaldehyde free” hair product was found to contain high levels of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen that causes asthma and other severe effects as described in the hairstylist’s blog. This product is banned in other countries and federal OSHA has warned salons to stop using it due to cancer risk. Yet the FDA has done nothing and  these unsafe hair products are still being used in salons across America.

Even baby products contain formaldehyde and other carcinogens. Brazilian Blowout is just the tip of the iceberg: Many body-care products, even iconic baby brands Johnson’s Baby Shampoo and Sesame Street Bubble Bath, contain carcinogens like formaldehyde and 1,4 dioxane. These chemicals often aren’t listed on labels due to loopholes in the law. The Safe Cosmetics Act will fix this problem and ensure our right to know what’s in the products we put on our bodies.

The Safe Cosmetics Act is good for businesses as well as consumers. In case the cosmetics industry hasn’t noticed, sustainable businesses are the fastest growing segment of their industry. Consumers want safe products. Companies will only gain by phasing out harmful chemicals and innovating safer alternatives.  The Safe Cosmetics Act also includes important provisions for data sharing and supplier disclosure that will provide businesses and consumers with the information they need to make the best choices.

The Safe Cosmetics Act works especially for small businesses. There was some uproar in the small business community about last year’s version of the bill. The bill sponsors worked hard to address those concerns and ensure the new bill is workable and helpful for small businesses. Here’s a great piece from Rebecca Hamilton, co-owner of Badger, about the Five Reasons Why the Safe Cosmetics Act Makes Sense for Small Businesses. Kudos to Rebecca and Badger for stepping forward with a strong voice to support this bill.

As Fran Drescher has said, “This is a non partisan issue, this is a human issue.”  (Check out Fran’s great piece today in The Hill!). The Safe Cosmetics Act is not about Democrats or Republicans, it’s about women wanting to protect their families and have control over the products they bring into their homes and put on their bodies. Everyone is affected by cancer, infertility, learning disabilities and other serious health impacts linked to chemicals in our environment and in our everyday products like cosmetics. And everyone — women, men, babies, businesses and the politicians too — have a lot to gain by legislation that protects our health and spurs the innovation of safer, healthier products.

So let the games begin! We need YOU to help pass the Safe Cosmetics Act, so please take action here — and let’s get some common-sense legislation moving through the US Congress!

From Stacy Malkan, Lisa Archer, Janet Nudelman, Mia Davis and all of us at the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is a coalition of more than 150 nonprofit organizations working to protect the health of consumers and workers by eliminating dangerous chemicals from cosmetics. Core members include: Clean Water Action, the Breast Cancer Fund, Commonweal, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth, Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition and Women’s Voices for the Earth.

Reflections from Sustainable Cosmetics Summit

May 24th, 2011 at 8:13 pm by Stacy Malkan

I’ll get straight to the good part: What’s the deal with the lady from L’Oreal? Many of you asked me this after I tweeted: “L’Oreal rep is reportedly ‘very upset’ about my presentation.” So here’s what I can tell you about that story.

Just as I was about to get on stage to give my keynote speech at the NY Sustainable Cosmetics Summit, I was approached by the conference organizer. He had come to warn me that a woman from L’Oreal was “very upset” about the remarks I was about to give. She was insisting on a rebuttal and she had been calling and sending faxes to the Personal Care Products Council,  demanding that they get down to the Marriott right away to defend the industry (the trade association never did show up at the Summit, sustainability apparently not being one of their chief concerns).

The L’Oreal lady hadn’t actually heard my remarks, since I hadn’t given them yet, but she was triggered by two of my slides published in the conference manual:

“Lack of Safety Data” pointed out that 90% of chemicals on the market have no human health data and less than 20% of cosmetic ingredients have been assessed by the industry’s safety panel (I’m upset about that too!); my other slide described efforts to reform federal cosmetics regulations via the Safe Cosmetics Act.

Amarjit suggested I could omit the offending slides, to which I replied hell no, and pointed out that a little controversy is a good thing for this type of conference, which provides an important space to debate hot-button issues that are critical to the conversation about sustainability.

Sadly, the debate never materialized. The L’Oreal lady left before I spoke. Nobody ventured a difficult question or challenging opinion after my talks. I was left to wonder: Did I do such a good job that everyone in the room was convinced? Had all the big companies left by the Summit’s second day? Were people asleep?

I did get a lot of positive feedback from supporters — many people in the room worked for progressive businesses at the forefront of greening the industry — and as for the rest, I welcome rebuttals to the ideas I presented at the conference.  As promised, here are my two talks, and I’d love to hear your feedback.

For consumers, sustainability is about health. The big companies at the Summit were talking about sustainability in terms of packaging, waste, carbon footprint — things that save them money and things that, as fellow keynote speaker Bill McDonough pointed out, they are stupid not to do. What they’re not talking about: health. But this is the primary driver for women who are buying green products. Here’s more in my morning keynote address.

Smart companies are taking a precautionary approach. We used to believe the “dose makes the poison” but recent science has changed our understanding about the many ways chemicals can impact health. The warnings from the scientific community, increasing media attention and growing public awareness about the health impacts of chronic, low-dose toxic exposures are changing consumer preferences and prompting new policies that require transparency and precaution. Smart businesses understand these changing dynamics of the market and are getting ahead of the curve. Here’s my afternoon talk.

For more on these points, also check out the short video of my Organic Nation TV interview. And here are a few more highlights from the conference:

Thanks to @aeidinger and everyone else who was tweeting live from the #SustainableCosmetics Summit. Follow me on Twitter @SafeCosmetics. Here are more observations from the conference:

Bill McDonough rocked the house. The cosmetics industry, he said, has a design problem. He didn’t go into much detail about how to fix the problem (I think you have to hire Bill McDonough to find out), but he did offer these gems: “How about lead in your lipstick, is that smart? How about a neurotoxin in your face cream? Kiss your child, kiss of brain death … How can something be beautiful if it hurts healthy children and the planet?”

Very interesting presentation by Jenny Rushmore of Proctor & Gamble. She shared that the recent redesign of Gillette razors has saved hundreds of thousands of tons of plastic in one year — equivalent to the weight in plastic of a Boeing 747! I am stunned and pleased by that, although I can’t help thinking about all the plastic 747s that are still being created by making plastic disposable razors in the first place.  P&G is now experimenting with corn-based plastics. Possibly promising (though still polluting). Keep redesigning P&G!

A shout out to the brilliant Jody Villecco and her team at Whole Foods who are doing a huge favor to the natural products industry with their precautionary Premium Body Care Standards and decision to require organic certification for products marketed as organic.  We heard at the conference that Target is now considering adopting Whole Foods standards for natural personal care.

Thanks to the many great businesses that have supported the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit since the beginning and who are forging the path for a sustainable cosmetics industry. They are proving it can be done, that it’s possible to make non-toxic products that are just as good and sometimes better than the toxic conventional stuff — and that you can have a lot of fun doing it! Thanks also to Organic Monitor for organizing the Summit and for inviting the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics to have a seat at the table. Hope to see you again next year!

The Dose Makes the Poison? We Know Better Now

May 6th, 2011 at 9:31 am by Stacy Malkan

I’m working on my keynote talk for next week’s Sustainable Cosmetics Summit, and I got to thinking about the paradigm shifts in science that are changing the business of beauty. To sum it up: We didn’t used to know what we know now about the health risks posed by toxic chemicals. So, now that we know, what are we going to do about it?

We know, for example, that chemicals don’t act in the predictable ways once assumed. You’ve probably heard the old adage “the dose makes the poison” — the idea coined by Paracelsus in the 1500s (and oft repeated by beauty industry execs) that toxic substances are harmless in small enough doses, while harmless substances can be deadly if over-consumed.

Science has come a long way in that past five centuries. Now we know: it’s not the dose that makes the poison, but also the timing of the dose, the size of the person and the toxicity of chemical mixtures — factors that aren’t considered in typical risk assessments.

We know that even very low doses of some chemicals can have a profound effect on health, especially if exposures occur to the developing fetus. And there’s far too much we don’t know. Consider the following equation for risk assessment:

Risk = Hazard x Exposure

Makes sense, except that we have a regulatory system that encourage ignorance on all parts of the equation. You can’t figure out the answer (risk) if you don’t have good information about hazard and exposure — and unfortunately, there are no requirements for cosmetics companies to assess the hazard of the chemicals they use or understand how much their customers are being exposed.

It reminds me of the time the Cosmetics Ingredients Review panel tried to determine the risk of phthalates in cosmetics by calculating exposure numbers on the back of a lunch napkin. (See Chapter 2 of my book for more on that story.) The bottom line is, they don’t know the aggregate exposure, and to understand risk, you would have to know how much people are being exposed to a particular chemical as well as to other substances that have similar biological mechanisms of action.

Clearly, we need new chemical policies and new cosmetic laws that bring our regulatory framework and scientific assessment methods into the 21st century.

Meantime, companies have a choice about how to respond to new knowledge from current science. Many good companies are choosing to avoid hazardous chemicals in the first place. And then there are those who insist it’s safe for products like baby shampoo to contain low levels of known carcinogens mixed with various other toxins. What are they thinking? Calvin & Hobbes offer some insight:

Thanks to all the companies that are willing to get informed, act on new knowledge and make the best choices — these companies have my business and will continue to grow as more people become aware of the facts. And to all the rest:  Ignorance may be easier but it’s not particularly smart!

The Best and Brightest Hope for Earth and Life

April 25th, 2011 at 3:46 pm by Stacy Malkan

I spent an amazing, beautiful Saturday at San Francisco’s Earth Day where I was honored to share the stage with feminist sheroes Dolores Huerta of United Farm Workers, Emily Murase of the SF Department on the Status of Women, Patty Bellasalma of the National Organization for Women and many other voices for a sane world.

My message to the gathering: The environment is our bodies. It is our wombs, our breast milk and our babies. In the ultimate example of trespass, every single one of us is carrying the products of the chemical industry inside our bodies – scores of untested, unregulated synthetic chemicals made from oil byproducts. Today, every baby on Earth is born with hundreds of toxic chemicals in their bodies before they even get started in life.

I spend a lot of time talking about this problem; sometimes it feels overwhelming! So I was glad to end the day Saturday with the people who give me the greatest inspiration to continue doing this work – the young people who are carrying the torch of higher consciousness into the world.

There are many of them! The other day my 5-year-old nephew Owen drew a picture of the planet and added an extra land mass “for the plastic continent.” My 11-year-old neighbor Sofia refused a bottle of water because, she said, holding up her hand, “I don’t drink bottled water. Water should be free.”

That’s the new consciousness. It’s there in abundance if you look in the right places, and one of my favorite sources is the group Teens Turning Green.

A few years ago while writing my book, I hit a low point, feeling overwhelmed with the scope of the problems I was writing about and unsure if I could finish. The Teens Turning Green had invited me to speak at an event in San Francisco, and I didn’t want to go. But I’d agreed, so I dragged myself across the bridge to Union Square and there I saw the most beautiful, energizing scene: 20 teenage girls on stage wearing prom dresses and combat boots, explaining the problem of toxic chemicals in cosmetics and yelling into the microphone their intention to “kick the butt of the $50 billion beauty industry.”

That’s the energy that is going to change the world!

So I was happy to be joined on Saturday’s stage by the up-and-coming leaders of Teens Turning Green. Vanessa, Shannon and Constance are carrying the green message about healthy bodies and healthy choices into their high school, where they are meeting a lot of resistance. It’s a tough audience, since so many teens are caught up in the cultural trance of “more is better” and “your products are your self-worth.” But then there are those who get it, and they get it in a way that is so much more sophisticated than anything I was thinking as a teen.

Blessings to Shannon, Constance and Vanessa for your strong voices and your unstoppable energy as you carry forth the torch!

On a related note, kudos to Emma Schwartz, Alex Hirt and Breanna Mack, who are eighth graders at the Athenian School in Danville California, for their brilliant report, “The Price of Beautiful Hair.” They did an excellent job researching toxic chemicals in hair products, and I especially love this quote:

On Proctor & Gamble’s website, they state that their products, ‘make every day just a little better for billions of consumers around the world.’ After investigating P&G’s brands of shampoos and conditioners, our group came to a different conclusion.

May we all have the wisdom of these eighth graders, and may the light of growing consciousness shine ever brighter with each young person who tunes into the truth. Happy Earth Day!

 

Are Chemicals Making Us Fat, Sick and Infertile?

April 11th, 2011 at 11:52 am by Stacy Malkan

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 …