Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Killer Cosmetics

Killer cosmetics? 
Your lipstick could be toxic
By Suzanne D'Amato
The Washington Post

Lipstick tainted with lead. Mascara that contains mercury. A hair-straightening treatment that slicks your tresses with protein ... and formaldehyde? As three recent controversies show, the world of beauty can be downright ugly. Take the lipstick debate. Last fall, a study gave women reason to worry about their war paint: The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics tested 33 lipsticks for lead. The group found that 61 percent of the lipsticks tested contained a detectable amount of the contaminant, and several exceeded the Food and Drug Administration's lead limit for candy. The FDA does not set lead standards for lipstick. 

Even a minuscule amount of lead is a big problem, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics spokeswoman Stacy Malkan said. "What the companies will often say is, 'There's a little toxin in one product and you can't say it causes harm,' " she said. "But none of us uses just one product." Lead is a neurotoxin that accumulates in the body over time, which is why tiny amounts ingested regularly could be hazardous. 

Not everyone sees lead in lipstick as such an issue. "Lead is in our environment, even without all the industrial production of chemicals," said John Bailey, chief scientist for the trade association Personal Care Products Council. "It's part of the earth. ... I don't think it really warrants these alarmist conclusions." 

Right now, concerned lipstick lovers have few options. "The only way to find out if your lipstick has lead is to send it to a lab and pay $150," Malkan said. 

It's considerably easier to find out if your mascara contains mercury. Traditionally added as a preservative, the substance is rare in cosmetics these days. When it exists, it's generally in cake mascaras rather than wand versions. It may be listed as thimerosal. 

In eye-area cosmetics, the FDA allows mercury if no other effective preservative is available. 
"It's a potent neurotoxin that can cause brain damage in developing fetuses," Malkan said. 

Bailey said the FDA uses a voluntary reporting program for cosmetics ingredients; the program has no current registrations that report mercury being used in the eye area, he said. 

"We certainly can't count on a voluntary reporting program," Malkan said. "We need a real reporting system." 

To see whether any products you use contain mercury or other potentially hazardous ingredients, she recommends the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Web site (, which lists information on more than 27,000 cosmetics and personal-care products. That may seem like a high number, but it's a small fraction of what's on the market, Malkan said. 

The Skin Deep site analyzes only over-the-counter products. Salon treatments are not examined -- and for controversial ones such as the Brazilian Keratin treatment, that's unfortunate. The BKT, as it's known, is a hair-straightening process that has smitten women in search of silky, frizz-free tresses. It also contains formaldehyde, a carcinogen. 

Beauty products and treatments don't have to get FDA approval before hitting store shelves; the FDA mandates such approval only for color additives in cosmetics.

Use products that are pure, safe, and beneficial!  


Thursday, July 14, 2011

One Day and Something Borrowed

Between the hospital visits and the sleepless nights after, I've been doing a lot of reading lately.  I've just finished "Something Borrowed" and "One Day."   Do you see the pattern?  Yup, I like reading books that they turn into movies. 

Something Borrowed 
by Emily Griffin
This was a pretty good book... an easy read.   I haven't seen the movie yet, so I'm anxious to see how it compares to the book.    The story follows 2 best friends, Rachel and Darcy, one the classic "pushover" (Rachel) and one the popular, pretty one (Darcy).   As Rachel turns 30, she finds herself in a sticky situation when she falls in love with Dexter, Darcy's fiance.  She must choose between the love of her life, or her oldest friendship.   Overall... I would recommend it.  The ending was a bit of a surprise, and I'm not sure I cared for the way things were finalized, but nevertheless, it was worth reading.

The second book that I just finished today is a must read!  

One Day
  by David Nicholls. 

It was fabulous!  I finished this one in three days and could not put it down.  It's the story of Dexter (strange that two books in a row had main characters named Dexter) and Emma.  Dexter and Emma meet the day they graduate from college and become good friends.   Each chapter begins on the anniversary of day they met, July 15th.  Year after year we read about their separate lives, their amazing connection through time, and the struggle between friendship, love, and timing.  It's a wonderful book that has left me thinking and wanting more.  I highly recommend this one... you have to read it!  I'm so excited for the movie that's coming out soon starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess.   It looks so good, I can't wait to see it!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I will try to fix you.

It's been a long time since I've written.  It's been a hard couple of weeks.  My best friend has been in the hospital and just lost her twin boys at 5 1/2 months.   Now more than ever I see just how badly we need things to change in this world.   How does anyone go through times like this without faith and hope?   Life is so precious.