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Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate.  Sound familiar?  Just take a look at your lipstick!  The listed ingredients are all considered “hazards” according to the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database and range from moderate to high risk.  Some chemicals may not even be listed on your products packaging and require further investigation in order to determine the true ingredients that we apply to our lips several times a day.

These hidden lipstick ingredients have been linked to cancer, skin and eye irritation, endocrine disruption, nervous system damage and other health concerns.  Retinyl Palmitate, a synthetic form of vitamin A, may be toxic to pregnant women due to studies that link the substance with reproductive toxicity among other health hazards. Lead has also been found in lipstick and in 2007 the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC) tested 33 lipstick brands and found 61% of them contained lead.  Among some of the worst offenders were Cover Girl (Procter & Gamble), L’Oreal (Body Shop, Maybelline), and Revlon.  The FDA has found lead in many more products than the initial CSC, yet considers the levels of Lead per lipstick too low to cause concern.

Lead is a hazardous neurotoxin and linked to numerous health and reproductive problems.  No exposure is safe for children and although the amount of lead per tube of lipstick may be considered low for the FDA, the study doesn’t take into account the amounts active lipstick users are ingesting and absorbing on a daily basis or long term exposure to lead for those of us who have been using lipstick since our early teen years.

We as consumers of cosmetics need to stand up to the FDA and companies that are poisoning our communities through the manufacturing and marketing of toxic makeup.  There is no safe level of exposure, regardless of what the FDA says.  We don’t need million dollar studies to tell us that long-term exposure to hazardous chemicals does have adverse affects on human health (although we do need them in order to prove what is clear as day).  We don’t need to wait until the women in our communities are being plagued with cancer, oh wait, hasn’t this already happened? Toxic chemicals in any amount are, TOXIC and need to be removed from our cosmetics (and all products) for the health and well being of women, children, all cosmetic users and the people who love them.

There is a petition on change.org asking Revlon, a huge player in the manufacturing of chemically laced lipsticks, to remove harmful chemicals from their cosmetics.  Signing a petition is one of many steps we can take in order to ban harmful chemicals from being sold to women.  If you need to change up your lipstick routine for a safer alternative, try to find products that are lead-free, have ingredients that are Organic and plant based, or better yet, give the company a call and ask what chemicals are in the product you want to use (hopefully the answer is NONE!).  For starters, check out www.bladesnaturalbeauty.com for a charming lip pencil by Jessa Blades and other natural make-up products that will celebrate your beauty without damaging your health.

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Everyone has encountered at least a handful of these sinus irritators.  People who apparently shower in their perfume and have no awareness that everyone around them is gagging and sneezing their faces off.  In fact, I myself am even guilty of applying an extra spray or two, just to ensure everyone knows I’m no cheapskate and went the extra mile to buy Chanel No. 5.  (Achew! Gesundheit!)

 

Unfortunately, these luxurious scents could be causing significant damage to our health.  According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, “Fragrance is considered a trade secret, so companies don’t have to tell us what’s in it.”  This means that the cosmetic industry is free to put anything they want in their products and keep the public blind to the ingredients, even if it has the potential to harm humans, animals and the environment.

 

A common ingredient in fragrance that has been found to have adverse effects on male reproduction and the developing fetus are a group of industrial compounds called Phtalates.  Out of the hundreds of toxic chemicals found in cologne and perfumes, Phtalates are one of the most dangerous due to the several animal studies that have linked the chemicals to organ damage, cancer and abnormalities in male reproductive health.  Most alarming of all is that these legal poisons which are freely mass produced and marketed to women of childbearing age, have the capability to harm the genitalia of an unborn son.

 

The popular brand, Angel by Clarins, is of specific concern due to the ingredient Coumarin.  This chemical has been proven to be dangerous in high doses.  In fact, studies have shown that it could cause neuro-behavioral problems in children who have been exposed to Coumarin in the womb.  And yet, despite the risks associated with products like Angel, companies continue to sell products that contain highly toxic chemicals with little regulation from the FDA or transparent ingredient lists.

 

Slowly but surely, the public is becoming aware of the health hazards associated with our treasured glass bottles of scented poison.  The next time you are standing by your co-worker who used a heavy hand with their Victoria Secret body spray, let them know that in addition to causing you severe allergies they could also be damaging your un-born child’s penis, that outta make ‘em think twice (and probably avoid you for a year or two!).

 

So what can you do to save man kind from it’s own self-destruction and smelliness?  Put the bottle down!  Check out Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database to see where your product ranks and find safer scents to use or stop using all scents and enjoy your natural odor (it’s free!). You can take action right now at Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and start writing letters or e-mails to companies and congress that we want safer cosmetics.   Stop using your perfumes and cologne and try out essential oils, so instead of making everyone sick, you can smell like you just came from an expensive spa instead of the detergent aisle at Target.