1. What purpose does this natural scare “movement” have in demonizing parabens, SLS, petroleum, aluminum etc.? It is simply the almighty dollar?
2. It is my understanding that many of these ingredients are indeed cheap and that is why they are used, not because they are better for you or that there isn’t a safer option. So, that’s great for me – and American with a little extra cash to choose what I want to buy – but we are indeed then not harming people by offering an affordable option albeit with synthetic ingredients? If we can afford to pay for better ingredients, shouldn’t we?
3. Other than correcting the vast amount of misinformation regarding cosmetics, what is the agenda of PCTS – and by this I mean why do you care that people continue to safely use parabens and SLS and propylene glycol? Is it because the misleading facts are crippling smaller cosmetic businesses that are getting a bad reputation?
1. What purpose of demonizing ingredients?
There are lots of reasons but the primary reason is for small companies to be able to compete with big companies. They can not compete when it comes to advertising, they just don’t have enough money. So, if they can make people afraid of the products from big companies, the small company gets an advantage with fearful consumers. No amount of advertising can overcome fear if a consumer develops it.
There are other reasons such as extreme environmentalism that often ignores science, anti-technology that believes things were better in the past, and anti-humanism that believes humans are detrimental to the Earth and should be minimized.
2. The ingredients are cheaper because they are used in greater quantity by more companies. It’s simple supply and demand. In reality, the reason these ingredients are used most often is because they provide the greatest value for companies. They give the best performance for the lowest priced formula. It has nothing to do with safety. The ingredients are safe. There are not “safer” options no matter how much money you are willing to pay. There are just options that do not work as well. There are also less expensive surfactants that could be used. They just don’t work as well.
3. There is not one answer to this and I can’t speak for everyone at PCT. But for me, this is what I believe.
A. There are a limited number of preservatives and the replacements for parabens are less effective and can potentially produce unsafe cosmetics. Parabens are proven safe and should be allowed.
B. Replacement ingredients to SLS do not have the same amount of safety test data behind them. People who switch their ingredients because of a mistaken belief in the lack of safety of SLS are fooling themselves.
C. As a cosmetic formulator, I want to create the best products possible. When non-scientists and governments limit the number of ingredients I can use because of unsupported fears, I get annoyed & it makes my job more difficult. I’ll listen to toxicologists and experimental data not unscientific nonsense.
D. The primary result of all this chemical fear mongering is to create a fearful, ignorant population who is mistrustful of science. It results in an anti-technology mindset that limits the ability of scientists to innovate and create great things for the world. I will take any chance I get to combat ignorance, fear and irrationality. Science and truth is what will allow humanity to flourish and solve actual problems in the world.
Adding to Perry’s point 3A:
Parabens are by far the most frequently used preservatives for the simple reason that they are effective at low concentrations and they are safe. It is a bonus that they are also low cost materials. There are many alternatives to parabens, most of which are used widely and have a good body of safety data, in particular, those listed on Annex VI of the EU Cosmetics Directive. These listed preservatives all have a long history of safe use (notwithstanding the low levels of irritation or sensitisation that are an inevitable risk – this small risk massively outweighs the risk of using unpreserved products), and may be considered as alternatives to parabens in many cases. Parabens are not, and never have been the answer to preservation of all cosmetics, but they are the best in most cases. The real risk arises in cases where alternatives to parabens are being sought amongst ingredients that do not have the same amount of safety data, or history of safe use behind them. Additionally, with increasingly wide exposure to these ingredients that were previously not used so much, the potential for adverse reactions becomes greater. I stress “potential”, but there is a risk.