You might have heard that sure, parabens and other chemicals in your skin care are bad if ingested, but they can’t penetrate your skin so you don’t have anything to worry about. The fact is, much of what we place on our skin is absorbed into our bloodstream. Just think about nicotine and birth control patches. We administer effective doses through the skin to our bloodstream, enabling us to forego a daily oral pill in lieu of a patch that prevents pregnancy. Or a patch that keeps nicotine in our system without the side effects of smoking, allowing us to wean off of an addiction. While there may be some chemicals that are too large to enter our bloodstream, the majority are small enough to penetrate.
What’s that smell? Unfortunately, there’s no way to know. “Fragrance” is considered a trade secret by law, so companies are not required to disclose the chemical components that add scent to a wide range of personal care products. According to the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database, an estimated 80% of products – everything from colognes and body sprays, to shampoos, deodorants, and even make-up – contain fragrance. Even “unscented” products may contain masking fragrances, which are chemicals used to cover up the odor of other chemicals.
The Story of Cosmetics, released 2 years ago on July 21st, 2010, examines the pervasive use of toxic chemicals in our everyday personal care products, from lipstick to baby shampoo. Produced with Free Range Studios and hosted by Annie Leonard, the seven-minute film by The Story of Stuff Project reveals the implications for consumer and worker health and the environment, and outlines ways we can move the industry away from hazardous chemicals and towards safer alternatives. The film concludes with a call for viewers to support legislation aimed at ensuring the safety of cosmetics and personal care products.
My friend Sally used to corral her three teenage children to clean their house every Saturday morning. I was envious of her chutzpa to demand this of her kids, but the part of the story that was always tragic to me was that every Saturday afternoon without fail, Sally’s son Sam was sent to his… Read more »