Dangerous Chemicals in Cosmetics: JustBeauty.ca Raises Awareness
By Imani Dada
When we don our makeup each morning, the last things we want to think about are dangerous chemicals in cosmetics. But Environmental Defence, the environmental organization that spearheaded the movement to ban Bisphenol A (BPA) in baby bottles, is taking our blinders off with their Just Beautiful campaign that includes a cheeky 60-second spot “How To Look Pretty Without Poisoning Yourself.”
The ad seeks to raise awareness about toxins in Canadian products and takes the form of a game show in which contestants have to choose a cosmetic product that doesn’t have any toxins and cancer-causing chemicals. If you think about it, it’s a game that thousands of us ladies (and a few gents!) play every day to beautify ourselves before heading out the door. But as awareness grows, the tide is turning and we are no longer so naive about dangerous chemicals in cosmetics.
Types of Dangerous Chemicals in Cosmetics
According to the David Suzuki Foundation, U.S. researchers have identified more than 10,500 toxic chemicals in cosmetics. Some of them are carcinogenic — or cancer-causing — others affect fertility, disrupt your immune and endocrine systems and include pesticdes, plasticizers, degreasers an surfactants. Here are just a few:
BHA — a carcinogen and endocrine disruptor
Coal tar dyes — possibly carcinogens and toxic to the brain
Parabens — endocrine disruptor and harmful to male fertility
Parfum — trigger for asthma and allergies and possibly carcinogenic
“Our experience shows that consumers can and will demand safer products from companies,” said Rick Smith, executive director, Environmental Defence. “We hope that the government will also hear their call, and follow Europe’s lead by improving labeling, and banning or restricting toxic substances in cosmetics. The federal government has made some major strides in improving safety with other consumer products — like kids’ toys and baby bottles — of late. Cosmetics need to be next.”
Environmental Defence has also re-launched its website, JustBeautiful.ca, where you can find information about the toxic chemicals in cosmetics and other products, safe alternatives and companies that have pledged their products are free of the 10 worst ingredients found in personal care products, also known as the Toxic Ten.
As Smith points out, consumers deserve to know about the dangerous chemicals in cosmetics and other products they use and to be protected from those toxic substances. The Just Beautiful campaign is one way to get better informed, protect yourself and still look pretty while you’re at it.
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VIEW THE ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE’S JUST BEAUTIFUL AD