WAC Magazine

September 2012

Issue link: http://cp.revolio.com/i/79907

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more than 70,000 products and provides information on the allergens, carcinogens, and developmental and reproductive toxicity of each. It also has information on which com- panies use animal testing or have signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, a voluntary pledge to avoid chemicals banned in other countries, avoid harmful ingredients whenever possible, and fully disclose product ingredients. SafeCosmetics.org also has tips, stories about products of concern, and information on how consumers can get involved in making change. "It's so important to stop buying toxic products and send a message with your dollars Another great resource is EWG's Skin Deep database (ewg.org/skindeep), which lists that you want to support companies that are doing the right thing," says Stacy Malkan, co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and author of Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry. "It's making a huge difference on the industry. The growth of organic products is actually growing faster than conventional products." LESS IS MORE Certain product categories pose more risks than others. The Environmental Working Group suggests you eliminate the following five problem product categories. If you can't eliminate them, investigate them carefully: • Dark permanent hair dyes • Chemical hair straighteners • Loose powders • Perfumes and fragrances • Skin lighteners it simple. " (Keep in mind that unscented products can contain fragrance.) gests. "We just found that some lipsticks have very high levels of lead in them, so maybe try to save lipstick for a special occasion. For staple products like soap, deodorant and lotion, try to seek out ones with fewer ingredients. Cutting down on the number of products you use is liberating and wallet-friendly—there are a lot of great reasons to do it—but from a health perspective, it helps." This is especially true for children and pregnant women. "When a fetus is developing in the womb, so much is happening with the development of neuro-pathways," Malkan says. "Some chemicals have been shown to interfere with those development processes. [For example], what you see with lead exposure in utero is lower-IQ and behavioral problems." A reasonable solution might seem to include buying products labeled "gentle" or "specially formulated for children." The problem, Malkan says, is that those words and phrases essentially mean nothing. "There are no legal standards for words like natural, organic, hypoallergenic or any of those marketing terms for personal care products," she says. For many, learning as much signals a wakeup call and a chance to rethink those morning routines that previously seemed second nature. One of the best ways to stay safe is to keep "Cut back whenever you can," Brown sug- Haley Shapley is a freelance writer based in Seattle. SEPTEMBER 2012 | Washington Athletic Club Magazine | 19 There are no legal standards for words like natural, organ- ic, hypoallergenic or any of those market- ing terms for person- al care products."

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