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Today, Maryland PIRG, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (a project of Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (BCPP)), and Safer Chemicals Healthy Families delivered more than 150,000 petition signatures calling on the multinational cosmetic giant L’Oréal USA to eliminate cancer causing chemicals and to disclose its secret “fragrance” chemicals. The petitions were gathered by these groups, as well as CREDO Action, Moms Rising and Story of Stuff, over the past two years. This Sunday, millions of Americans will be celebrating their moms and showering them with gifts such as beauty products and perfumes. However, some of those products may contain chemicals linked to cancer and other health hazards.
“This Mother’s Day, don’t give your loved ones an unwanted dose of toxic chemicals,” said Dev Gowda, Toxics Advocate with Maryland PIRG. “L’Oréal should stand up for moms everywhere and pledge to be toxic-free. Many of their product ingredients have been linked to cancer and other health problems.”
As Breast Cancer Prevention Partners Organizing Manager Sara Schmidt said, “Women shouldn’t have to worry about whether they are increasing their risk of breast cancer every time they use a mascara, or nail polish or other L’Oréal beauty product. L’Oréal should prove ‘we’re worth it’ by removing all cancer-causing chemicals from their beauty products.”
The average American woman is exposed to over 100 different chemicals from personal care products alone every day. Consumers should be able to trust that the products they buy are safe — especially those that they apply directly to their bodies. Yet, when people shampoo or apply make-up like mascara, they often dose their bodies with numerous chemicals. Here's what was found on store shelves:
- L'Oréal Colour Riche Nail Polish and Maybelline Color Show Nail Polish contain Benzophenone-1, a chemical linked to endocrine disruption and breast cancer.
- At least four L'Oréal products (Maybelline Great Lash Mascara, L'Oréal toner, kids shampoo and mascara) contain four different formaldehyde-releasing preservatives. Formaldehyde is classified as a known carcinogen by respected scientific authoritative bodies.
- Some anti-aging products contain Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), which means PFOA contamination could be a problem in these products. “Fragrance” or “parfum” refers to a mixture of chemicals that don’t have to be labeled, due to a loophole in federal law. According to the International Fragrance Association, any of approximately 3,000 chemicals may be in a single fragrance.Some of the chemicals on this list have known links to cancer,reproductive and respiratory problems, and hormone disruption. Safer alternative products are available, and can be found use the Healthy Living and Think Dirty apps, or by looking for brands with Made Safe certification.
Earlier this year, popular personal care product maker Unilever, which owns brands like Dove and Caress, made a bold move to announce that it would disclose most of its fragrance ingredients by 2018.
Consumer, public health, and environmental groups across the country are urging L’Oréal to follow suit and disclose all of its fragrance ingredients, as well as remove carcinogens and other chemicals linked to health problems from its cosmetic products.
"More and more companies are taking action to protect their customers from harmful chemicals. Just recently, CVS Health announced plans to remove three classes of chemicals of concern from their beauty and personal care products,” said Mike Schade of Safer Chemicals Healthy Families. “And we've seen major announcements on chemicals from retailers like Target and Walmart. L’Oréal should join the growing movement toward safer chemicals."
View the petition drop at L’Oréal USA’s headquarters in NYC on Facebook Live at https://www.facebook.com/safecosmetics.
Read Maryland PIRG's Personal Care Product Safe Shopping Guide “Getting Personal with Chemicals”, here.
Read Breast Cancer Prevention Partners’ recent report on toxic chemicals in L’Oréal’s anti-aging products, “Anti-Aging Secrets Exposed,” here.
Your donation supports Maryland PIRG's work to stand up for consumers on the issues that matter, especially when powerful interests are blocking progress.