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Why the Beauty Industry Needs a Makeover: WATCH The Story of Cosmetics

Posted Jul 21 2010 12:00am

safecosmetics_300True or False: The government prohibits dangerous chemicals in personal care products, and the beauty industry wouldn’t risk using them.


The Story of Cosmetics, , reveals the truth by examining the pervasive use of toxic chemicals in our everyday personal care products, from lipstick to baby shampoo. Produced by Free Range Studios and hosted by Annie Leonard, the 7-minute film reveals the implications for consumers and workers health (in addition to the environment), and outlines ways we can move the industry away from hazardous chemicals and towards safer alternatives.

Major loopholes in U.S. federal law allows the $50 billion beauty industry to put nearly any chemical into personal care products, even chemicals linked to cancer and birth defects. There is NO required safety assessment and inadequate labeling requirementsmaking cosmetics among the least-regulated consumer products on the market.

  • More than 500 products sold in the U.S. contain ingredients banned in cosmetics in Japan, Canada or the European Union.
  • Nearly 100 products contain ingredients considered unsafe by the International Fragrance Association.
  • 22% of all personal care products may be contaminated with the cancer-causing impurity 1,4-dioxane, including many children’s products.
  • 61% of tested lipstick brands contain residues of lead.

Only 8 out of over 12,000 ingredients have been banned by the FDA in personal care products since 1938!

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The film was made in close partnership with the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics .

Want to know more about the film and the issues it raises? Check out these additional materials from the Story of Stuff Project:

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