CoPIRG Foundation Provides Tips for Toxic-Free Mother’s Day

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Calls on Companies like L’Oréal to Disclose Ingredients, Pledge to Be Toxic-Free

CoPIRG Foundation

Many Colorado families will celebrate Mother’s Day with personal care products like perfumes, hair and skin care products. To help ensure a safe Mother’s Day, the CoPIRG Foundation released tips on how to avoid products with toxic chemicals and called on companies like L’Oréal to disclose all the ingredients in their products as well as to pledge to become toxic-free. 

“Consumers should be able to trust that the products they buy are safe — especially those that are used every day, directly on the body,” said Danny Katz, CoPIRG Foundation Director. “Unfortunately, too many beauty products keep Coloradans in the dark and some give an unwanted dose of toxic chemicals. This Mother’s Day, personal care product manufacturers like L’Oréal should stand up for moms everywhere and pledge to be toxic-free and disclose ‘fragrance’ ingredients to the public.”

The average American is exposed to 100 different chemicals from personal care products before they leave the house in the morning, and the average woman uses a dozen products daily. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not do safety testing or require approval before these products hit the shelves, so manufacturers have the responsibility to make sure these products are safe. But some products have been found to include harmful chemicals. 

For example, L’Oréal’s Garnier Fructis fortifying shampoo contains the ingredients sodium laureth sulfate and PEG compounds, which can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane which can cause cancer. This product also includes “fragrance.”  “Fragrance” or “parfum” refers to a mixture of scent chemicals and they don’t have to be disclosed, due to a loophole in the law. According to the International Fragrance Association, approximately 3,000 chemicals can be used to make fragrance, some of which have been linked to cancer, reproductive and respiratory problems, and hormone disruption. 

Examples of other products that contain “fragrance” and therefore fail to provide the full ingredients of the product include:

  • Chanel COCO perfume – A study done by the Breast Cancer Fund and Environmental Working Group found that Chanel COCO perfume contains diethyl phthalate, a chemical linked to reproductive problems, and galaxolide which can cause hormone disruption. We only know that this perfume contains these two chemicals because of the tests done by Breast Cancer Fund and Environmental Working Group, otherwise they would be hidden by the term “fragrance” on the box. 
  • Ralph Lauren Romance – The Ralph Lauren Romance perfume made by L’Oréal merely lists “fragrance” in the ingredients label on the box, because L’Oréal doesn’t let consumers know which fragrance chemicals are in their fragrance ingredients.
  • Yves Saint Laurent Mon Paris – This perfume is also made by L’Oréal and just lists “fragrance” in the ingredients label, leaving consumers in the dark on the possible health impacts.   

The CoPIRG Foundation highlighted other products and ingredients to avoid in a guide on personal care products, “Getting Personal with Chemicals.” They advised consumers to avoid ingredients like fragrance, sodium laureth sulfate, PEG compounds, PPG-5-ceteth-20, triethanolamine, diazolidinyl urea and methylparaben. 

The guide highlighted some safer alternative products that you can buy for mom including The Honest Company’s bubble bath or body wash, or aromatherapy oils or fragrance from Just the Goods. There are also stores like AILLEA that specialize in toxic-free products.

“We need to know what chemical soup is behind “fragrance” so we can ensure everyone, not just moms, avoid harmful chemicals. The best gift I can think of for this Mother’s Day is for personal care companies to commit to fully disclose their ingredients and pledge to become toxic-free,” said Katz. 

Earlier this year, Unilever, the maker of many popular personal care product brands such as Dove and Caress, made a bold move and announced that it would disclose much of its fragrance ingredients by 2018. Also, SC Johnson, the manufacturer of Glade and Pledge, announced that it is phasing out the toxic fragrance ingredient galaxolide, a hormone disruptor.  

CoPIRG Foundation is urging companies like L’Oréal to follow suit and disclose all of its fragrance ingredients, as well as identify and remove toxic chemicals of concern. Just yesterday, CoPIRG Foundation joined other organizations in delivering 150,000 petitions to L’Oréal’s headquarters in New York City calling on them to pledge to go toxic-free and disclose their ingredients. 

Read CoPIRG Foundation’s Personal Care Product Safe Shopping Guide “Getting Personal with Chemicals”, here