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Healthy Beauty for Life

By Laura Woodward

Parents should be proactive when their teenagers begin experimenting with cosmetics and personal care products. A large number of the chemicals in these products on the shelves of grocery stores and pharmacies are largely untested for potentially harmful health effects.

Companies are not required to disclose that these products may contain dangerous chemicals and Health Canada does not require companies to perform “patch-tests” on individuals before they launch a new product. Not only is there a lack of understanding of how each chemical may affect human health, it is also unknown how the chemicals interact in the body and in the environment.

It important for parents to talk to their teens about the potential health hazards of the products they try out. The average North American woman uses about 10-12 beauty products a day. Her teenage daughter uses about 17.Teenagers are more sensitive to certain chemicals, so a healthy start could potentially mean fewer health related complications at later stages of life.

The chemicals may be absorbed through skin and settle in the blood stream and tissues which may contribute to such complications as cancer, allergic reactions, premature sexual development in girls, hormone disruption, male reproductive disorders, and/or pre-term births. Chemicals from cosmetics have even been found in developing fetuses, passed on from their mother’s use!

Sierra Club Canada is developing a Healthy Beauty for Life campaign to help parents educate their teens about toxic chemicals in cosmetics and personal care products and to offer alternatives to the more harmful products they use. As a part of the campaign, Sierra Club Canada will be offering a Healthy Cosmetics Kit for teenagers that will include products from companies that produce safe, non-toxic chemicals as well as literature on the main chemicals to avoid and tips on how to have a more healthy beauty regime.

The campaign will be launched on Earth Day, April 22nd, 2012. Visit our website near that time for more information.

In the meantime, you can read a backgrounder and download a great poster on the Sierra Club Canada Chemicals in your Cosmetics webpage. The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database is another resource where you can look up cosmetic products and see their toxic rating.

Laura Woodward is a Campaigner with Sierra Club Canada


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Also in the Winter 2012 Issue of An Ounce …

Published: February 3, 2012