Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Removal of Cancer-Causing Chemicals in Cosmetics Gains Momentum

Health + Wellness

Revlon, one of the oldest and best known names in beauty and personal care products, has announced it will remove some toxic chemicals from its products. They include some long-chain parabens and some formaldehyde-releasing chemicals.

As public awareness grows, pressure increases on beauty products companies to make their products safer.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

The news comes against a background of heightened awareness of the dangers of chemicals used in a range of commonly used personal care products. Last month, for instance, Women's Voices for the Earth released a major study called Beauty and the Beast, revealing the health impacts on salon workers of long-term exposure to chemicals in the products they use. Last year, more than 100,000 people signed a petition by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), urging Revlon to make this move.

“We are pleased that Revlon has acted to remove these toxic ingredients,” said EWG executive director Heath White. “Long-chain parabens and formaldehyde-releasing chemicals have no place in everyday cosmetic products. We applaud Revlon for taking these important steps and hope that other companies will follow Revlon’s lead by reformulating their products to remove chemicals that have been linked to serious health problems. The move by Revlon confirms that companies can produce cosmetics products without these troubling ingredients. Today's news reflects real progress, but more reformulation and ongoing review of the science is needed.”

Long-chained parabens, used as preservatives in many cosmetics like lotions, creams and deodorants, have been in the news as endocrine disruptors with links to breast cancer and decreased fertility. Johnson & Johnson agreed to stop using them two years ago but they're still found in many cosmetics under names like propylparaben, isopropylparaben, butylparaben and isobutylparaben.

Formaldehyde is also a preservative, and formaldehyde releasers are designed to interact with water in products like shampoos, conditioners and bubble baths—including those designed for children—to unlock it. It's an allergen and a potential carcinogen, listed on labels as DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea and quaternium-15. Johnson & Johnson has also started phasing out these chemicals.

But while companies like Johnson & Johnson and Revlon have already responded to public pressure, many others have yet to do so. The Story of Stuff Project is leading a campaign to pressure L'Oreal to remove the potentially cancer-causing ingredients as well. Its Campaign for Safe Cosmetics points out that the company is using Ovarian Cancer Awareness to market its products, which include formaldehyde releasers and other ingredients that have links to cancer.

"The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has reviewed the scientific literature on carcinogens and found a whole host of carcinogens, formaldehyde releasers and contaminants in products sold under the L’Oreal, Maybelline and Garnier brands—all owned by L’Oreal," said the organization. "Many of the chemicals L’Oreal uses have already been banned in certain countries, but the company continues to ship toxic formulas to countries with weaker regulations. There is no reason for L’Oreal to put cancer-causing chemicals in its personal beauty products when safer alternatives exist."

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

3 Common Chemicals That May Cause Breast Cancer

Toxic Chemicals in Salons Linked to Adverse Health Effects, Including Cancer

4 All-Natural Soaps Safe for Your Skin and the Planet

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), National Education Association (NEA), and AASA, The School Superintendents Association, voiced support for safe reopening measures. www.vperemen.com / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA

By Kristen Fischer

It's going to be back-to-school time soon, but will children go into the classrooms?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) thinks so, but only as long as safety measures are in place.

Read More Show Less
Critics charge the legislation induces poor communities to sell off their water rights. Pexels

By Eoin Higgins

Over 300 groups on Monday urged Senate leadership to reject a bill currently under consideration that would incentivize communities to sell off their public water supplies to private companies for pennies on the dollar.

Read More Show Less
People enjoy outdoor dining along Pier Ave. in Hermosa Beach, California on July 8, 2020. Keith Birmingham / MediaNews Group / Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images

California is reversing its reopening plans amidst a surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.

Read More Show Less
A protest against the name of the Washington Redskins in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Nov. 2, 2014. Fibonacci Blue / CC BY 2.0

The Washington Redskins will retire their controversial name and logo, the National Football League (NFL) team announced Monday.

Read More Show Less
The survival tools northern fish have used for millennia could be a disadvantage as environmental conditions warm and more fast-paced species move in. Istvan Banyai / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

By Alyssa Murdoch, Chrystal Mantyka-Pringle and Sapna Sharma

Summer has finally arrived in the northern reaches of Canada and Alaska, liberating hundreds of thousands of northern stream fish from their wintering habitats.

Read More Show Less
A mother walks her children through a fountain on a warm summer day on July 12, 2020 in Hoboken, New Jersey. Gary Hershorn / Getty Images

A heat wave that set in over the South and Southwest left much of the U.S. blanketed in record-breaking triple digit temperatures over the weekend. The widespread and intense heat wave will last for weeks, making the magnitude and duration of its heat impressive, according to The Washington Post.

Read More Show Less

Trending

If you get a call from a number you don't recognize, don't hit decline — it might be a contact tracer calling to let you know that someone you've been near has tested positive for the coronavirus. blackCAT / Getty Images

By Joni Sweet

If you get a call from a number you don't recognize, don't hit decline — it might be a contact tracer calling to let you know that someone you've been near has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Read More Show Less