Monday, November 19, 2007

This Ain't Pretty ...

Every morning, I surf on over to Bloglines to see which of the blogs I subscribe to have been updated recently.

I was shocked when I read "Your makeup could be making you toxic" on Back In Skinny Jeans. Stephanie provides a link (as will I) to the Cosmetic Database, which provides safety rankings for all the stuff in our makeup bags.

Each product is ranked (and color-coded) on a scale of 1-10, with 0-2 being low hazard (green), 3-6 being moderate hazard (yellow), and 7-10 being high hazard (red).

I'm not Crunchy Granola Girl. I don't shop exclusively at Whole Foods. I don't wear clothes made out of hemp. I'm a fan of deodorant, yet the only personal product I buy at Whole Foods is my Karite Lips shea butter with vanilla lip balm. (It's crazy expensive as lip balms go, but I love the stuff.)

I think about the fact that I buy moisturizers that I rub into my skin and that they contain more than all-natural ingredients. But I've continued to buy them anyway. Hey, I buy Aveeno. It has oatmeal in it. How bad can it be? Well, let's find out: Phew. Aveeno Active Naturals Daily Moisturizing Lotion is a 2. But several Aveeno products fall into the high/red category, including many of its sunblocks and moisturizers. So much for looking Positively Radiant. Most of those products are rated 7s, but the Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizing lotion is an 8.

So I'm not sure why I really never considered the toxicity of my makeup, especially my lipstick. (It's been said that the average woman consumes six pounds of lipstick in her lifetime from licking her lips and ingesting it when eating.)

I just grabbed my makeup bag. I don't wear a lot of makeup every day, but I slap on a few products before heading out the door. Let's start with my face moisturizer and then move through the products as I apply them:

- Eucerin Sensitive Skin Extra Protective Moisture Lotion SPF 30: 3

- CoverGirl Clean Pressed Powder Creamy Natural: 5 (I buy a face powder at my salon, but it was created by a makeup artist and I don't see a brand name on it; will have to investigate further; the salon stuff is like $40, so let's hope it's not crap.)

- MAC PowerPoint Eye Pencil (eyeliner): 3

- CoverGirl LashExact mascara, black: 8 (Oof! I guess it's time to find a new mascara. Most of the ingredients are rated low to medium hazards, but one ingredient makes it awful. In fact, of all the mascaras on the site, mine is ranked the worst. The best is Longcils Boncza Longcilclassic Cake Mascara (Noir). The best one I recognize is Almay Bright Eyes Mascara, Waterproof Black Brown, Waterproof Black, at No. 25.)

- MAC Frost Lipstick: 3

Not the worst report, I guess. And in the grand scheme of things, I suppose mascara is one of the less-egregious things you put on your face in terms of absorption and surface area. Still, it's kinda hard to swipe on a product every day knowing that it contains triethanolamine, which has been linked to "cancer, allergies/immunotoxicity, and organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)." (But the triethanolamine is only 3% of my mascara! Hey, that's comforting! It's only 3% poison!)

I may not be Crunchy Granola Girl but I am Skeptical Former Journalist Girl so I did a little digging about the Cosmetic Database, which is part of Environmental Working Group. Wikipedia (yes, I know Wikipedia isn't the last word in information, but hey, it's early, and I'm not writing a story for a newspaper here) says: "The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a public watchdog group specializing in environmental investigations in the areas of toxins, agricultural subsidies, public lands, and corporate accountability. They are a non-profit organization (501 c3). Their funding is from 'private foundations, individuals and select corporations.' One of its funders is the Florence and John Schumann Foundation, headed by Bill Moyers. EWG was founded in 1993 by Ken Cook and Richard Wiles, and is headquartered in Washington DC in the United States."

So I clicked the link for the Florence and John Schumann Foundation and read this: "The Schumann Center for Media and Democracy (formerly The Florence and John J. Schumann Jr. Foundation) was established in 1961, by Florence Ford and John J. Schumann Jr. The foundation states that its purpose is to renew the democratic process through cooperative acts of citizenship, especially as they apply to governance and the environment. It is based in Montclair, New Jersey in the New York City Metropolitan Area."

Further, under "Criticism of the Foundation": "Discover the Networks (a group leaning to the political right) asserts that the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy is 'a major supporter of radical environmentalist organizations.' According to Discover the Networks' website the Center's investment portfolio has earned 'immense profits from its investments in gas and oil companies. The Center's investment portfolio contains tens of thousands of shares in such companies as Exxon Mobil, Conoco, British Petroleum, Royal Dutch Petroleum, Ford, Keyspan Energy, Pioneer Natural Resource Company, Noble Affiliates, Royal Dutch Petroleum Company, Columbia Gas Systems, Dow Chemical, Dupont, Shell Oil, Shell Transportation and Trading, and General Motors.' The right-wing Capital Research Center claims that the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy has a 'far-left' ideological agenda."

A organization that cares about the environment that invests heavily in oil and gas? That doesn't make sense, does it? Then again, there's always more to the story, and I haven't even made coffee yet.

Still, the take-home message of Cosmetic Database is sound: Toxic stuff is bad for you. There are products that are less toxic. You might want to consider those.


Blogger Haizum said...

OMG. Some of the stuff I use aren't in the data base! Now I'm freaking out! *sobs*

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And, ironically, petroleum products (like mineral oil) is used in a majority (something like 90%) of moisturizers/cosmetics! It's not only toxic, but it's also supposedly the second leading cause of aging to the skin after the sun.

There are some companies out there that don't use this toxic crap or a lot of preservatives. Whole Foods carries them and Arbonne is another company that uses only beneficial ingredients.

10:26 AM  

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