"Well, Bust My Buttons!" (Or What a Little Consumer Knowledge Will Have You Saying)
Posted Aug 12 2008 4:20pm
Okay, here's a perfect example of how consumer information can be helpful. I was about to rave about this product, Sun fragrance-free sunscreen, by Alba Botanical. My daughters and I have used it all summer, and let me tell you, we have given it a true workout. We are constantly riding our bikes, walking and swimming at an outdoor pool in Atlanta's relentless heat. During our six-hour excursion on bikes around our soon-to-be-city yesterday (which ended with two flat tires and our first trip with bikes on the MARTA bus!), I realized that we have not gotten sunburned, even a teeny bit, this entire summer.
And so, I was set to rave. This was our first summer trying something other than Banana Boat or Coppertone or any of those other readily-available-in-the-drugstore brands of sunscreen. We've tried a couple from Whole Foods and the Natural Foods Warehouse and this one is the one that we like the most. Not greasy. Not much of a smell. Works.
But then I realized that I had bought the suncreens before I knew about that Environmental Working Group database, Skin Deep , that informs you as to the hazard level of an exhaustive range of personal care products. And so I looked this product up, and held my breath. Turns out that on a scale of 1-10 (with ten being the most harardous), this product ranks a 5. Not bad, but one of the ingredients scores an 8, with a laundry list of what's wrong with it. However, it turns out that Alba Botanical makes a sport suncreen that ranks a 2. A 2! I guess I thought that the simpler the product I picked, the less its toxicity. That's why any advanced formula, like a sport version, didn't appeal to me. Well, as that guard in The Wizard of Oz says, "Well, bust my buttons!"
And so, I don't feel terrible about using this one, but not as great as I did yesterday. However, now, armed with consumer knowledge, I will choose the sport version of this brand when next I purchase a sunscreen.
And that's how it works.
Cool. (As opposed to Atlanta's heat).
Nurturing sustainability close to home and around the world. (And other food for thought!)