Synopses & Reviews
Coal tar in dandruff shampoo, lead in lipstick, and 1,4-dioxane in baby soap? How is this possible? Simple: The $35 billion cosmetics industry is so powerful that they've kept themselves unregulated for decades.
Not one cosmetic product has to be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration before hitting the market. Incredible? Consider this:
- The European Union has banned more than 1,100 chemicals from cosmetics. The United States has banned just nine.
- Only 11 percent of chemicals used in cosmetics in the United States have been assessed for health and safety-leaving a staggering 89 percent with unknown or undisclosed effects.
- More than 70 percent of all cosmetics contain phthalates, which are linked to birth defects and infertility.
- Many baby soaps are contaminated with the cancer-causing chemical 1,4-dioxane.
It's not just women who are affected by this chemists'brew. Shampoo, deodorant, face lotion, and other products used daily by men, women, and children contain hazardous chemicals that the industry claims are "within acceptable limits."But there's nothing acceptable about daily multiple exposures to carcinogenic chemicals-from products that are supposed to make us feel healthy and beautiful.
Not Just a Pretty Facedelves deeply into the dark side of the beauty industry and looks to hopeful solutions for a healthier future. This scathing investigation peels away less-than-lovely layers to expose an industry in dire need of an extreme makeover.
Stacy Malkanis the communications director for Health Care Without Harm and founding member of Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.
Lead in lipstick? 1,4 dioxane in baby soap? Coal tar in shampoo? How is this possible? Simple. The $35 billion cosmetics industry is so powerful they’ve kept themselves unregulated for decades. Not Just a Pretty Face chronicles the quest that led a group of health and environmental activists to the world’s largest cosmetics companies to ask some tough questions:
- Why do companies market themselves as pink ribbon leaders in the fight against breast cancer, yet use hormone-disrupting and carcinogenic chemicals that may contribute to that very disease?
- Why do products used by men and women of childbearing age contain chemicals linked to birth defects and infertility?
As doors slammed in their faces and the beauty myth peeled away, the industry’s toxic secrets began to emerge. This scathing investigation peels away less-than-lovely layers to expose an industry in dire need of an extreme makeover. The good news is that while the major multinational companies fight for their right to use hazardous chemicals, entrepreneurs are developing safer non-toxic technologies and building businesses on the values of health, justice and personal empowerment.
The girls' guide to giving the cosmetics industry a makeover.
About the Author
Stacy Malkan is communications director of Health Care Without Harm, and a media strategist and cofounding member of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a national coalition working to eliminate hazardous chemicals from personal care products. Stacy is a former journalist and newspaper publisher, and a longtime environmental health advocate who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.