Our bathrooms are literally a “minefield of toxic chemicals”, so goes the word on the newly released ‘Story of Cosmetics‘. World renowned environmentalist and film maker Annie Leonard has produced this brilliant, animated short film which highlights the rampant use of toxic chemicals in our beauty products and the importance of being informed in the absence of regulation. Major loopholes in US Federal Law allow the $50 billion beauty industry to put unlimited amounts of chemicals into our personal care products with little or no oversight, minimal regulation and no legislation that distinctly categorizes natural vs organic vs not. In this country there are approximately 11 ingredients that have been banned from use in our cosmetics; in the EU… there are over 1,000. You have companies like L’Oreal and Estee Lauder who are ardent supporters of cancer research, but who actively use known carcinogens in their beauty products. There are arguments to suggest that because the amounts of chemicals are so small, the collateral damage is negligible – however, what isn’t proven at this stage is whether these chemicals are water soluble (thereby eliminated from the body) or whether they’re stored and therefore with extended use become dangerous, even life threatening.
What we do know is that parabens have been found in cancerous breast tissue and phthalates have been directly linked to reproductive disorders – fact not fiction. Stories like the one that Leonard tells with ‘The Story of Cosmetics‘ and books such as No More Dirty Looks, are critical to our ongoing enlightenment about our beauty products, because if the FDA and US government can’t be bothered to regulate this industry, we owe it to ourselves to take up the charge and get informed!