This morning many of us (in Australia) would have been chomping down on our corn flakes while watching the piece about the 515 chemicals that us women douse ourselves in each day in the name of beauty.  Fact? Possibly, so what is the problem?  Let me give you just the first five of my 515 reasons why women need to stop reading rubbish.

Eyes Wide Open

1)  Who funded the segment. Why?  Because if it was meant as a “news” item I would love to see the balanced and fair journalism stats. If not, we need to know who and why so that we can work out how to act.

2) If all of these chemicals are putting us at harm can the health minister  and the cosmetics industry “please explain”.

3)  How do you think we all feel now after hearing that our shimmer body lotion may give us cancer and our “Eau De Beauty” body spray will deform our developing offspring?  Can you dish out the phone number for the mental health clinic while you are at it please?

4) Stating that a chemical that is in your body lotion is ALSO IN OVEN CLEANER is pointless.  It is like saying Glycerine is ALSO FOUND IN   epoxy resin.  Chemicals have thousands of uses and are refined and manufactured according to their end market.

5) Parabens are going to kill us?   Based on the column inches that parabens receive I could surmise that parabens worry more people  than global warming.   Parabens do have a slight estrogenic effects but so do some foods (including Soy and some fruit and veggies). They  have been scientifically proven to be have no adverse effect on the body.   However,  the cosmetics industry has taken notice and it is now easy to find paraben free cosmetics.

So, do I believe that the chemicals in your cosmetics are all OK and we should just get on with life?  NO I don’t and that’s because I am a scientists and as such am part of a community that is ALWAYS looking for better and safer ways of doing things. 

It is true that research is going on to ascertain what effect some of these (and other) chemicals have on our bodies, on the environment and on the rest of the food chain.  All ingredients used in the cosmetics industry have to be tested for their health and environmental impact  as individual chemicals BUT there has been increasing awareness of the impact that mixtures of ingredients can have on health and waterways. This is especially true when people are using many different products, day in, day out from an early age.  As you can appreciate, this work is complicated, expensive and difficult to control. We encounter chemicals every day in the food that we eat, the products in our houses and the transport we take.  Trying to link one chemical delivered via a body lotion to cancer is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

OK, so now you are thinking that “SHE is one of them, of course SHE would downplay the risks as part of the cosmetics industry”. Well NO. I am NOT one of anything. I am a cosmetic chemist that has worked for chemical companies, small brands, big brands and individuals. I have worked for charities and councils.  I have and do volunteer for environmental groups. I have children, I am hoping to live to a ripe old age and I ride a bike.  I am an Independent consultant / journalist and educator.

My agenda is this. To tell you the truth as it is today and to seek out the facts about the backstage world of an industry that is supposed to turn on an agenda of FUN.  I am an advocate of “green chemistry”, believe that we should value our resources more than we currently do and am passionate about empowering people through education.

What I don’t like is fear based journalism as that plays on all of our insecurities without giving us any ladder with which to escape.  

The material that was presented on Sunrise sourced an article from the Daily Mail in the UK  and quoted Dr Ginni Mansberg who generally gives good and well-rounded advice, maybe she had an off day.