I’m feeling the need to clarify a few things. Sometimes I think we sound like a broken record. Actually, we do. Why is this? It’s because of all the misinformation that is continuously circulating around the internet super highway. Fear mongering bloggers, main stream media and activist groups are doing their part to keep consumers confused and scratching their heads.
While reading over some of the topics from my Google alerts, I felt the need to create this post. I’ve listed some of the more common questions and statements that we’ve seen circulating in the past and a few new fear titles. I’m a huge fan of the game Fact or Crap. If you don’t know the facts, things can sound like crap. The definitions of the two are:
1. something that actually exists; reality; truth.
2.something known to exist or to have happened.
3. a truth known by actual experience or observation; something known to be true.
a. nonsense; drivel.
b. falsehood, exaggeration, propaganda, or the like.
3. refuse; rubbish; junk; litter.
So, here goes. Is it fact or crap?
Cosmetics Are Safe – FACT
What do we know about the safety of cosmetics? We know that the FDA regulates cosmetics. We know the CIR assesses the safety of ingredients by studying all of the available science in order to make their determination. They labor over the data and then meet in a public, open meeting, to discuss their findings. We know there are scientific studies to support the safety of cosmetics. We know that the activists don’t have the science.
If You Can’t Pronounce It, It Can’t Be Safe – CRAP
We’ve posted numerous articles that touch on this statement and here’s a great one. It has to be the most ludicrous statements I’ve ever heard. Let’s take shea butter, for instance. The INCI name for shea butter is Butyrospermum Parkii. Can you pronounce it? I still have problems saying it. Shea butter is so much easier. If I followed the statement above and shea butter was listed in the ingredient deck by its common name, then it’s safe to use. However, if it is listed by it’s proper or chemical name, it’s not a safe ingredient and I should avoid it. How much sense does this make? None.
Skin Deep Database Does Not Offer Safety Ratings – FACT
Risk = Hazard + Exposure. Skin Deep Database only offers hazard ratings and does not take into account the exposure. How are consumers expected to make an informed decision when they only have 1/2 of the equation? Here’s a great post that will help explain things in more detail.
75% of the Sunscreens on the Market Don’t Actually Protect You – CRAP
The EWG is peddling this scare tactic and it’s simply not true. While discussing this topic, Dene Godfrey said, “Initially, they are claiming that 75% of sunscreens don’t actually protect the user (i.e. they don’t work), but it turns out that what they REALLY mean is that 75% of sunscreens don’t meet their “safety” standards. (Safety standards that the vast majority of the industry don’t accept as meaningful.) There is a MASSIVE difference between not being effective and not being safe – this is a disgrace! In terms of pure scaremongering, this is up there alongside “if you can’t pronounce it, it can’t be safe”.”
Kristin wrote several articles in regards to sun protection after attending the In-Cosmetics event in Barcelona in April. Sunscreens are a highly regulated industry and a manufacturer must be approved by the FDA before placing a sunscreen on the market. The FDA also provides a variety of links for consumers to learn more about sunscreens.
- The American Academy of Dermatologyrecommends everyone use sunscreen that offers the following:
- Broad-spectrum protection (protects against UVA and UVB rays).
- Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30 or greater.
- Water resistance.
- A sunscreen that offers the above helps to protect your skin from sunburn, early skin aging, and skin cancer. However, sunscreen alone cannot fully protect you. Dermatologists also recommend that you seek shade when your shadow is shorter than you are and protect your skin by wearing long sleeves, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses whenever possible.
I will take sunscreen information provided by The American Academy of Dermatology and The Cancer Society over the EWG any day of the week!
We Are Being Duped – FACT
While the chemical or botanical name of an ingredient can be quite alarming, the ingredient itself isn’t necessarily harmful. Alarmists are working 24/7 to scare consumers into believing many ingredients are harmful to your health. Do you know what dihydrogen monoxide or DHMO is? It’s the chemical name for water. In 1997, 14 year old Nathan Zohner completed a science project titled “How Gullible Are We?”, which he won first place. Nathan gathered a petition to ban DHMO or dihydrogen monoxide. Nathan proved that an alarmist can spread the word of junk science to instill fear in people.
In March 2004 the California municipality of Aliso Viejo (a suburb in Orange County) came within a cat’s whisker of falling for this hoax after a paralegal there convinced city officials of the danger posed by this chemical. The leg-pull got so far as a vote’s having been scheduled for the City Council on a proposed law that would have banned the use of foam containers at city-sponsored events because (among other things) they were made with DHMO, a substance that could “threaten human health and safety. Read on Snopes.
Here’s more on Nathan’s petition.
The fear mongering will continue until bloggers and mainstream media are given all the facts. Balanced reporting is lost in the arena of journalism. Cosmetic legislation should always be based on sound, scientific, peer-reviewed studies. Not on a whim of what if’s, educated guesses or the precautionary principle. Read more about the precautionary principle, here, here and here.
Would you go to your car mechanic to ask questions about your health? I wouldn’t. So why wouldn’t you look for peer-reviewed journals, written by scientists that have made it their life’s work to study ingredients and the effects they have on the human body?
Do you believe the facts from above or the crap?