It has been noticed that certain individuals are mounting an attack on both the PCT site in general, and some of the contributors in particular. These attacks are principally via Facebook, but are possibly being made elsewhere as well.

I have copied part of the comment stream from the response to a posting on the Campaign For Safe Cosmetics’ Facebook page about Perry Romanowski’s recent interview on the Rachael Ray Show (for the full comment stream)

Person 1

I posted to the site but it has not been published but look at the response of one of the guys! I can’t believe it!

Hi *******,
You been fed misinformation by the EWG and other fear-based groups that reject science and dish up paranoia. What …they are telling people isn’t factual, its designed to frighten you into donating money which these groups use to trick well-meaning politicians.

When’s the last time you really saw a well meaning politician. Maybe I am just jaded I live in GA : )

10 March at 21:22

Person 2

‎@****- that’s TOO funny! “Well meaning politicians?) Hah! There’s a special place in hell for guys like that one who posted such a stupid post! True- fear tactics are often over-used and do play a part in some cases, but facts are facts an…d Fact #1 – J&J Baby Shampoo contains toxic chemicals that are harmful and as for formaldehyde releasers, they are flagged for further review by Environment Canada’s Domestic Substances List – so there’s your gov’t for ya’! Thanks for posting, that guy is a moron! 🙂

10 March at 22:03 ·

Person 3

‎@ ****** — define Toxic. The reason organizations like Personal Care Truth get a foothold in the cosmetic industry is because the folks who want more natural products often don’t back their opinions with facts and so they look like peopl…e scared of the imaginary, when in reality there are plenty of ingredients worty of fear – like synthetic fragrances. They pollute the air and water, are hazardous to the lymbic system of the brain, and to the lungs. They kill fish and wildlife. Killing makes something toxic and there is NO safe dose of synthetic fragrance made from petrochemicals.

10 March at 22:32 ·

Person 4

If you look at Personal Care Truth, the website behind Perry, you’ll see a group of cosmetic “experts” who supports and defends parabens, phthalates, and all sorts of other chemicals, despite overwhelming evidence that they are harmful. I have tried debating with these people; they are quite hostile towards anyone telling them that chemicals are harmful.

10 March at 22:40 ·

Person 3

@ ********** — hostile is a compliment; they are way beyond that — they are hateful hypocrites.

10 March at 22:42 ·

Person 3

I have major problems and have been very critical of Skin Deep and many things written by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, but they don’t block or ban me (and only a few posts have been deleted.) They allow debate and people to voice their opinions, even those that are critical of the organization.

A response:

This is highly typical of the scientifically naive when faced with facts that they don’t want to believe in; they resort to abuse – “hateful hypocrites”, for example. I have been involved with PCT from Day One, and I have yet to see any post allowed that could remotely be described as “hateful”, whether from the contributors, or other commentators.

Going back to the start, and analysing theses points in order:

Person 1 offers no information, only a snide comment about politicians and, whilst I have some sympathy for her view on politicians, it is hardly a valid argument against Perry, or the PCT expert who responded to her comment.

Person 2 indulges almost exclusively in abuse – “moron” etc. Ad hominem attacks are so typical, but contribute nothing to a discussion. As for her sole “fact” – yes, toxic chemicals ARE harmful (nice logic, shame about the tautology), but it depends ENTIRELY on the concentration/exposure. This is the main concept that the chemophobes just do not seem to be able to grasp, and yet it is so simple! J&J Baby Shampoo MAY contain some formaldehyde (at extremely low concentrations) as an impurity, but not at levels sufficient to cause harm. All the common formaldehyde donors have been rigorously assessed for safety by the EU’s Scientific Committee for Consumer Safety (or one of their several previous guises).

Person 3 actually recognises that many of those who are strong proponents of using natural materials often don’t back their opinions with facts – but the problem here is that they are usually only opinions; not facts. The facts are often at variance with the opinions – this is when the anger starts to mount! She then goes and spoils it all by saying that “killing makes something toxic [great insight] and there is NO safe dose of synthetic fragrances made of petrochemicals. If Person 3 were indeed correct that there is no safe dose of these substances, we would all be dead, because I would put a lot of money on every living human in developed countries having been in contact with synthetic fragrances, even if with only a single molecule. I know that I am still alive – is anyone else out there? This claim is pure nonsense, and anyone giving a moments calm, logical thought to it should be able to see that. Person 3 is not a scientist.

Person 4 has interacted at great length on PCT and chooses the classic use of quotation marks – “experts” – so we clearly are not experts in her eyes. As she disagrees with the experts, she clearly believes that she IS an expert (otherwise she would not be sufficiently expert to disagree). Despite having been shown the several errors in her claims (on this site and on her own blog), she continues unabated with her views, based on a level of knowledge of chemistry equivalent to that of a 15 year old (judging from the mistakes she has made previously). She at least does have some scientific background, but sometimes a little knowledge is dangerous, especially when you don’t quite know when you have reached your limit! She also claims that “we” are hostile to anyone claiming that chemicals are harmful. The problem with this statement is very basic – you cannot claim “chemicals are harmful”. It is far too general a statement to possibly be true. She is making the classic errors of implying that only synthetic substances are “chemicals”, and that they are all dangerous. Some substances are safe at high concentrations (irrespective of origin) and some are not. Some substances are dangerous at very low concentrations (again, irrespective of origin), and some are not. Her claim is facile and without substantiation. I challenge anyone to pick out a “hostile” response to her comments on PCT – one or two may have shown a creeping frustration (from me), though, but not hostile! At this point, I would ask the neutral reader to have a look at the comments reproduced above, and see if they can spot any hostility. She attacks PCT for articles putting forward a scientific case about certain ingredients, but she did not offer any evidence of the “overwhelming evidence that they are harmful”. Person 4 made no comment on either of the two articles posted about phthalates, although, in one of the articles, Person 3 did offer another misguided diatribe about synthetic chemicals using the usual unsubstantiated guesswork employed by chemophobes, without actually specifically addressing phthalates.

Finally, Person 3 admits that she has had some of her comments deleted by the CFSC, but implies that PCT don’t allow any adverse views to be posted. In one post alone, Person 4 had 27 (mostly adverse) comments posted – out of a total of 78 comments on that one article! Many other critical comments have been published on other PCT posts; this is not the only example, although it may be the most extreme! 27 comments out of 78 on one topic is pretty good going! This might suggest that the fault lies with Person 3, rather than with PCT.

From Person 3’s own Facebook page (under the name Botanical Elements):

“In response to the libelous and slanderous statements made about me on the Personal Care Truth website – I call for a boycott of the companies owned by their Panel of Experts as long as they remain on the panel, showing their support for the PCT agenda of attacking anyone trying to create safe, natural, botanical, sustainable cosmetic…s without toxins and pollutants.”

1) You cannot slander anyone in writing – that would be libel!

2) Slander is only possible if the statement is untrue. All that has been said on PCT is that Person 3 is the only person ever to have been blocked from the site. This is correct, therefore it is not slander.

3) PCT does NOT have an agenda of attacking anyone who tells the truth (the clue’s in the name, folks!). There is NO connection with attacking anyone trying to create safe products – of ANY origin.

4) Person 3 doesn’t know what a toxin is.

It seems to me that all the accusations made against PCT and the contributors (hostile, hateful hypocrites, moron etc) have been more than adequately reflected in the comments reproduced above. Not one single PCT contributor is actually a moron; there has not been one single hateful/abusive comment from a PCT contributor (Lisa and Kristin would never allow this, even if one were submitted), and the strongest adjective I would venture to use for any of the comments in response to questions and criticism of any articles would be “terse” – but never hostile. I have seen this phenomenon several times before – if you disagree with the chemophobic point of view, you are accused of being stupid (moron?) or hostile, or several other negative things, but it is more usually the chemophobe who is actually being abusive and/or hostile! I have personally been accused of being “abusive” for the simple act of disagreeing (politely) with a chemophobe (not on PCT); it doesn’t feel good. “If you do not agree with me, you are my enemy and you are stupid” seems to be the rule!

Judge for yourself whether or not the pot is calling the kettle black in that Facebook comment stream!

Fortunately, there are plenty of contributors to PCT who disagree with some of the content, but are able to express themselves lucidly and politely, and engage in constructive debate. I, for one, welcome this!


Dene Godfrey has been involved with preservatives for cosmetics since 1981, from both technical and commercial angles and has a degree in chemistry. Dene worked for one of the largest manufacturers of parabens from 1992 – 2002, and currently works for a UK company involved in the distribution of ingredients for cosmetics, health care and food. The Boots Company, 1973 – 92, Dene spent 11 years working with bronopol, although he was also involved in the initial development of Myavert C, now known as Biovert – a well-known “non-preservative”. Latterly was responsible (as Technical Manager) for the operation of the Formulation Laboratory and the Microbiology Laboratory. As Technical Manager when at Nipa Laboratories, Dene was responsible for development and sales of new preservative products, mainly into personal care. Developed the Nipaguard range of preservatives and co-patented a preservative system based on phenoxyethanol and IPBC. In 2002, Dene founded MGS MicroPure (as Technical & Sales Director) to compete with the giants of preservation, establishing the Paratexin brand name in the UK and several other markets (EU/ global). MGS MicroPure ceased trading in 2005. Since 2005, Dene has been employed by a major UK distributor of personal care ingredients, with his focus primarily on preservation systems. Dene’s articles are based solely on his personal opinions, observations and research, and are not intended to represent any official position of the part of his employer. Dene obtained a BSc (Hons) in Chemistry from the Open University in 1996. He also obtained the Professional Certificate in Management from the Open University in 1997. He has been an active member of the UK Society of Cosmetic Scientists since 1992, and has served 4 terms on the SCS Council, and is involved with the SCS Social Committee from 1993 to date; from 2004 – 7 as Social Secretary. Dene has presented papers at many SCS meetings and was President of the SCS (2009/10)

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