The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics' May 2010 report. "Not So Sexy," found that top-selling fragrance products contain multiple allergens and hormone-disrupting chemicals linked to asthma attacks, headaches and serious long-term effects such as infertility, thyroid problems and increased risk of cancer. Many of the chemicals were not listed on labels, and most have not been assessed for safety by the beauty industry’s self-policing review panels.
And according to a study from the Environmental Working Group (a Campaign co-founder), newborn babies are arriving pre-polluted with synthetic musks used in the ingredient "fragrance." It's not hard to see why: fragrance is used in lotions, shampoos, makeup - and even household cleaning products - in addition to perfume.
Here's how you can help: Contact the manufacturer of a cosmetic product in your bathroom that lists “fragrance,” “perfume” or “musk” on the ingredient label, and ask the maker to use non-toxic ingredients and fully disclose all ingredients on products labels. We'll get you started:
If the company or brand isn't listed below, check the product packaging or online for a customer service number, comment form or e-mail.
Bath & Body Works
Coty (Calvin Klein, Glow by JLO, others)
Estee Lauder (Estee Lauder, MAC, Origins, Clinique, others)
1-877-311-3883, then press 3
L’Oreal (Garnier, Maybelline, Lancome, Redken)
Procter & Gamble (CoverGirl, Old Spice, Clairol, Olay, Gillette; scented household cleaning products made by P&G)
Your call or letter can touch on some or all of these points.
"I buy/used to buy ______[product name] regularly. But in light of the mounting scientific evidence, I am concerned about the safety of your ingredients.
"I read labels so I can avoid dangerous chemicals, but I understand your products are not fully labeled with component ingredients of fragrance, like synthetic musks and phthalates [pronounced THAL-lates], or contaminants like 1,4-dioxane.
"One recent study found synthetic musks and other chemicals in the umbilical cord blood of newborn babies [Environmental Working Group, www.ewg.org, Dec. 2, 2009], and another study found fragrance ingredients in pregnant women’s bodies [Washington Toxics Coalition, www.watoxics.org, Nov. 17, 2009]. We know that chemicals used in products like yours are getting into our bodies, and we know that cancer, infertility and developmental disorders linked to many of these chemicals are on the rise.
"I urge you to take responsible action to protect your customers. Will your company disclose all of the components of fragrance, and commit to phasing out all known and suspected carcinogens, mutagens and reproductive toxins from your products? [You can ask for a response via e-mail, letter or return call, if you want.]
"I prefer to purchase products made by companies that have signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics. I hope that ______[company name] will sign this meaningful commitment to remove harmful chemicals from cosmetics products. You can learn about the Compact at www.safecosmetics.org."
Please take a minute to tell us who you contacted and how it went! Quick notes are fine, or you can cut and paste your e-mail correspondance with the company.