OK, so I’m still cleaning out my shelves and finding products that I thought were safe when I bought them but when I look closer at the label, are really NOT. I just added yet another brand to my ongoing list of Greenwashers. What’s a greenwasher? It’s a brand or company that promotes safe or natural products (and may even list some ingredients that are organic or may list harmful chemicals that it does not have) but when it comes right down to it, they still have a lot of work to do. Let’s take the last one in this list here. I bought this product a couple of years ago thinking it was a good safe product. Now I know better. This product is a body lotion, and the front labels brags “with shea butter and jojoba oil”. It also list in the front label “No parabens, No sodium lauryl sulfate, No propylene glycol.” Sounds good right? When you look at the full ingredient list on the backside it’s a different story. This particular product lists PEG-100 Stearate, which is just a little concerning because there is not a consensus on this ingredient, alone it is questionable but often it is contaminated with 1,4 dioxane which is a carcinogen known to effect liver and kidneys. Strike 1. I continue to read down the list of ingredients and find Phenoxyethanol. This is an ingredient used as a preservative and according to Safecosmetics.org it can cause reactions from eczema to central nervous system disfunction. It is listed as toxic or harmful and as an irritant in Europe. Strike 2. Continuing down the list I find the most concerning ingredient Retinyl Palmitate. This ingredient has an overall hazard rating on EWG.org of 9 out of 10. It’s listed by the FDA as a human reproductive toxicant, and when applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight, may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions by 21% (FDA, 2011). I do not want this in my lotion, do you? Strike 3, it’s out!
So there you have it, a detailed review of how to look at the backside of your label. If you’d like a pocket sized brochure to carry with you while you shop, shoot me an email I can send you one, or get the pdf here.