The Story of Cosmetics

by Leisa on August 21, 2010

The Story of Cosmetics: What’s Really in your Personal Products?

I know I’ve harped on about the importance of this issue on this blog, here, here and here, but it’s worth bringing up again. Annie Leonard, the creator of the “The Story of Stuff” has come up with a new story, and it is about cosmetics…

“As a mother, I want to be sure that the shampoo, sunscreen, bubble bath and other personal care products my daughter uses are safe. If I stick to products in the children’s aisle at the drugstore — stuff that’s made and marketed specifically for kids — those should be OK, right?

The labels are reassuring: “Gentle.” “Pure.” “Natural.” “Free of Harsh Ingredients.” “Recommended by Pediatricians.” “Dermatologists Approved.” And of course, “No More Tears.”

But when you turn the bottles around, get out a magnifying glass and read the fine print on the back (and get online to do some research) it’s a different story: sodium laureth sulfate, diazolidinyl urea, ceteareth-20, PEGs, quaternium-15 — all these are typically contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals like formaldehyde or 1,4 dioxane.

Carcinogens in baby shampoo? Are you kidding me?

I asked some scientists what was going on, and what they told me was scary, and not just for our children. It turns out the average American bathroom is a minefield of toxic chemicals. Sunscreens, lipstick, moisturizer, shaving cream — many cosmetics and personal care products for babies, kids, moms and dads contain chemicals linked to cancer or other health problems like learning disabilities, asthma and even damaged sperm.

I got so mad about this I joined with the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics to make a new video The Story of Cosmetics.”

You can read the summary points of what Annie learned here:



Please feel welcome to leave your comment, feedback or question about this blog post below! If you would prefer not to use your own email address, just type in the box below to post your comment. We'd love to hear from you!

No comments yet

Leave Your Comment


(Spamcheck Enabled)


Previous post:

Next post: