Posted November 26th, 2014
November 17, 2014
Beauty can be painful: just ask anyone who’s ever sat in a salon getting their scalp seared with straightener or their fingers soaked in noxious chemicals. But the problems aren’t just skin deep; the glamor of the cosmetics industry hides many underlying health hazards.
The materials used in salon treatments like perms and manicures are as dangerous as any industrial chemical. But unlike industrial workplaces where protective equipment is often the norm, at salons personal image and comfort are paramount. So regulation remains a gray area, consumers ignore those ugly fumes, and yet for workers who labor all day in these shops, practically every breath may carry toxic risks.
Posted November 14th, 2014
November 11, 2014
Getting a manicure or a blowout is a regular part of many women’s grooming routines, and we’re all familiar with the risks those treatments can sometimes involve. But we don’t always consider the consequences of hair and nail pampering on the women providing those services.
A new report from Women’s Voices for the Earth, “Beauty and its Beast,” sheds light on the health risks facing salon workers—and the results are startling.
Posted October 22nd, 2014
October 20, 2014
From perfumes to dishwashing and laundry detergents to candles, chemical fragrances are in practically everything.
But manufacturers do not have to disclose which chemicals are used in their proprietary fragrances, protected by the U.S. Fair Packaging and Labeling Act. And some of these products can contain dozens of chemicals in just one fragrance.
Posted October 15th, 2014
October 15, 2014
SC Johnson will be the first large company to disclose all fragrance ingredients in products. Could this be the end of trade-secret protection for the fragrance industry?
The term “fragrance” has, for decades, hidden all manner of ingredients: somewhere between 10 to 50 chemicals, in most products, which don’t have to be disclosed on labels because they are considered trade secrets under the US Fair Packaging and Labeling Act.
Some of those ingredients might not remain secrets for much longer. Consumer packaged goods company SC Johnson last week became the first multinational to announce its intention to disclose all fragrance ingredients in its products. The news comes after other companies – most recently Clorox – have announced steps to disclose fragrance allergens in their products. But this represents the first attempt to disclose all fragrance ingredients on a product-by-product basis.
Posted October 15th, 2014
Cincinnati Business Courier
October 14, 2014
Women’s Voices for the Earth, a national women’s health nonprofit, claims it found toxic chemicals in Procter & Gamble’s Always menstrual pads, but the Cincinnati company says the claims aren’t relevant.
The group commissioned an analysis of the pads in August that revealed the emission of carcinogens and reproductive and developmental toxins that aren’t disclosed on the product labels. It claims the toxins are present in scented, unscented and Infinity versions of Always ultra-thin pads. They include styrene, chloromethane, chloroethane, chloroform and acetone.
Posted September 30th, 2014
September 29, 2014
Clorox is working to disclose allergens in its products’ fragrances. Will others will begin to abolish their own ‘trade-secret status,’ or even remove allergens altogether?
Hundreds of years ago, expert perfumers in France would handcraft exotic, top-secret blends to be used in the spritzes, soaps and powders of the world’s elite. In that context, applying trade-secret status to the fragrance industry made a lot of sense. In today’s world – where any company can hire a chemist to reverse engineer their competitor’s fragrance – it has become more a question of consumer protection than intellectual property rights.
Posted September 16th, 2014
September 15, 2014
New York City needs to beef up inspections of its 2,000-plus nail salons to ensure that customers are not exposed to health hazards during routine manicures, the city’s top watchdog said on Monday.
Public Advocate Letitia James recommended that the city set up its own team of inspectors to complement a state-led force of 27 who are responsible for an estimated 5,000 salons in New York, from Long Island to the Canadian border.
Posted September 16th, 2014
September 12, 2014
I’m impressed to see all of these fun and empowering ads for tampons and pads lately. From Hello Flo’s viral First Moon Party to P&G’s tear-jerking Like a Girl, these videos are giving the subject of menstruation a lot more serious attention than it used to get. But one topic that still hasn’t been broached is the unpleasant subject of what exactly it is that women are putting into and onto their most sensitive parts with these products.
An analysis by Women’s Voices for the Earth of product labels found at least 20 chemicals of concern in some feminine products. These include: parabens (preservatives linked to endocrine disruption, increased risk of breast cancer, and allergic rash); DMDM Hydantoin, a preservative that releases the carcinogen formaldehyde; and benzethonium chloride, a chemical linked to maternal and embryo toxicity that isn’t supposed to be used on mucous membranes (of which there are many in the vagina).
Posted July 23rd, 2014
Dr. Frank Lipman
July 17, 2014
Some products have a sort of “halo” around them. We just expect they’ll be made in such a way that we can feel comfortable using them on a daily basis.
Most women consider feminine care products to be in this category. They come near some of the most intimate and fragile parts of our bodies, so surely they’re made of safe ingredients, right?
Posted July 16th, 2014
April 4, 2014
A groundbreaking report produced last year by Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE) detailed how the feminine care industry sells products containing unregulated and potentially harmful chemicals, such as pesticides, preservatives, fragrances and dyes. The report also kicked off a campaign targeting Proctor & Gamble, makers of Tampax and Always, to disclose the ingredients in their tampons and pads.
Now, eight months later, WVE takes a look at those ingredients after acquiring public patent documents held by Proctor & Gamble (U.S. Patent #6,840,927).