1.22.2008

SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY

Today started with a shock. Debra Lynn Dadd sent an email to her mailing list that opened with this:
"For the next few weeks I'm going to be on a 10-city media tour. Proctor & Gamble is sending me out as their spokesperson to explain the environmental benefits of their new concentrated detergents, and I get to promote my new Really Green book, too."

Spokesperson for Proctor & Gamble? I thought there might be some other company with a similar sounding name, but no, she means THE Proctor & Gamble, the quintessential transnational consumer-products company that has a presence in almost every American and European home. That Proctor & Gamble. I'm stunned. I'm speechless. I can't believe she's serious. But I looked at Fox Morning News in Kansas City and sure enough, there she is, touting her book and a new P&G laundry soap.

Now, I suppose one way to look at this is that perhaps P&G is trying to make things more right. Maybe they're attempting to move in the right direction. I'm not buying it.

P&G is one of many companies that complies with the seventh amendment of the European Union's Cosmetic Directive which came into force in March 2005. This directive requires that all "products intended to be placed in contact with the various external parts of the human body" would henceforth be subject to scientific review. The seventh amendment mandates that chemicals determined to be carcinogens, mutagens, or reproductive toxins -- known collectively as CMRs -- be removed from cosmetics sold in Europe.

That's right, CMRs are prohibited from cosmetics that are sold in Europe. P&G still uses CMRs in products sold in the US. That tells me something very important. This new laundry soap is not enough.

It also tells me that I cannot support Debra Lynn Dadd. I assumed she was serious about helping us get out of the chemical soup. Nope. Not this way.

If you want to see the incredibly long list of brands owned by P&G, go here. It's staggering. I thought they owned L'Oreal, but it turns out Nestlé owns most of L'Oreal.

4 comments:

Jenny said...

Hi Self-Righteous,

I like your blog, and I think you've got a good thing going on. I've been trying to research this on my own, and haven't found much, but I'm just wondering if you know any information on the safety of products from Bath&Body Works, C.O. Bigelow, or Victoria's Secret Beauty? I want to know if it's safe for me to use them!

Thanks!

Self-righteous said...

Jenny,
I recommend using SkinDeep to look up a company's track record in terms of toxic ingredients. BBW only has three products listed, none of them particularly safe. Bigelow and Victoria's Secret have none and one, respectively.

My rule is, if I can't pronounce the ingredient or if I need a chemistry degree to read the ingredients list, I don't buy it.

But there are some things you can be on the lookout for: phthalates, anything with paraben at the end, anything like sodium laurel sulfate (or variations on that), things that end in -zene, DEA, MEA, fragrance.

Sometimes the company's website will actually list the ingredients in their products. You can use SkinDeep to look up specific ingredients as well as looking up specific companies.

And one more thing: the list on the right side of this site is companies that I believe have stopped putting garbage in their personal care products. You might find a product you like there.

Good luck. Read labels, do your homework, thanks for stopping by, hope you'll come back again.

Jenny said...

Thanks Self-righteous! I have searched SkinDeep's database with the same results as you found. As for the other ingredients you mentioned... I know that these companies do not use pthalates. Also, they do use parabens, but only safe parabens which studies have found do nothing harmful to the body. From my reading of their labels, i didn't find Sodium Laurel Sulfate, but did find sodium laureth sulfate, which is a much safer surfactant that shouldn't have ill effects in the quantities found in the products.

As for -zenes, I'm a little confused as to what's wrong with them. I haven't read anything about it, but you seem to have.

"fragrance," of course, is found in all of their products.

So what do you think?

Thanks again. I have looked through the links on your right-module, and am planning to check them out in stores soon!

Friend said...

Hi Jenny,
Another favorite site for information is Guide to Less Toxic Products. Here is a link to a page in that site:
http://tinyurl.com/yvfzku

I think this will help a lot.

SR (also Friend)