Posted 11 July 2011, by Staff, Health and Environment Alliance, env-health.org
On 28 February, Women’s Environmental Network (WEN) launched an online checklist which will give consumers the information they need to choose cosmetics they can trust.
The checklist, dubbed Careful Beauty, checks 22 companies against 20 health, environmental and ethical criteria. It shows which companies’ beauty products avoid some potentially harmful ingredients.
“While beauty products are designed to make us look and feel better about ourselves, the majority of modern cosmetics are complex mixtures of industrially produced synthetic chemicals,” says Laureen Benton, Health Officer at WEN. “The problem is that some of these chemicals are bio-accumulative. This means that small amounts absorbed when we wash our hair, paint our nails or spray on deodorant don’t go away and gradually build up to create a chemical cocktail in our bodies. To prevent this we need to choose products which avoid those potentially harmful ingredients. And that’s what Careful Beauty helps us to do.”
Some of the most commonly used preservatives – parabens – are oestrogen mimics, implicated in a number of health issues including breast cancer. Synthetic fragrance or ‘parfum’ could contain over 100 chemicals and may indicate the presence of phthalates which are linked to reproductive damage and have been banned from use in toys.
Careful Beauty cuts these out. Only those companies who do not use parabens or ‘parfum’ in any of their products are included in the Careful Beauty checklist which can be found on WEN’s website.
“WEN’s Careful Beauty online checklist is just what women are looking for,” says Clare Dimmer of Breast Cancer UK. “Because of links between the hazardous chemicals found in our everyday products and breast cancer women want to know where they can find safer alternatives.”