Friday, October 5, 2007

freaky friday

There are two great articles in the news today that ought to make most of us sit up and pay attention:

First, from the UK: Is your make-up killing you? The Daily Mail profiled two young British women who agreed to have their cosmetics indexed and tested as part of a television documentary. The article cites a recent study that found that "British women are one of the heaviest users of cosmetics in Europe and, as a result, we ingest through our skin, and occasionally through the mouth, up to 5lb of chemicals a year." I can't imagine American women are too far behind. As for Charlotte and Emma, the two women featured in the article, the levels of phthalates and pesticides in their urine dropped dramatically during their 8-day stint without standard cosmetics.

Dolly Parton once said that it takes a lot of money to look this cheap. It takes a lot of chemicals, too.

And okay, this one is from two weeks ago, but somehow I missed it. Grist published this excellent consumer's guide to endocrine disruptors: Sex Education, a primer on chemicals, fertility and reproduction. The 7 heavy-hitters that Grist covers in the article (bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates, persistent organic pollutants (POPs), perchlorate, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and alkylphenols) are commonly found in our food, cosmetics and a host of other consumer products.

The take-home message from these articles is that we can shop safer by eating organic foods or buying clean cosmetics, making our own non-toxic cleaners and the like, but that's only a small fraction of our exposures to these nasty contaminants. As with most crises, shopping will not solve the problem. We need our government regulators to heed the red flags and get them out of the manufacturing chain entirely.

No comments: