Monday, April 25, 2011

There's Lead in Your Lipstick - Gillian Deacon

I've tried in the last few years to clean up the way I eat - less processed and more whole foods. It's absolutely helped with some of my health concerns. But I picked up a copy of There's Lead in Your Lipstick by Gillian Deacon and realized I really hadn't given much thought to all the personal care products I use.

Gill Deacon was reading Stacy Malkan's 'Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of Beauty' while waiting to have an ultrasound to help diagnose her possible breast cancer.  It is in Chapter 6 - "Pinkwashing" that the following appears...
"More American women have died of breast cancer in the last 20 years than the number of Americans killed in World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War combined." "Many of the big cosmetics corporations that position themselves as leaders in the struggle to eradicate breast cancer - holding annual fundraisers and pink-ribbon campaigns - are in fact, makers and marketers of products that contain many ingredients known or suspected to cause breast cancer."
Deacon's diagnosis was positive. There's Lead in Your Lipstick was started before her diagnosis and finished after her treatment.
"This is not a cancer survivor's rant against the chemical industry. This book is simply a guide for all those who want to be cautious and considered when choosing the products and ingredients they use in, on and around their bodies. So when I read, and share with you on these pages, that an ingredient is linked to cancer and other health concerns, I don't take it lightly. Neither, dare I suggest, should any of us."
Most of us read food labels quite carefully, now that the ingredients and percentages are listed. But how many of us take the time to investigate what's in our shampoo, make up and deodorant etc. before using it? I didn't. After reading Deacon's book, I won't ever take for granted that 'somebody' is making sure that these products are safe for us. They're not.

There's Lead in Your Lipstick is an absolutely fascinating, eye opening, educated look at every type product we use to clean, buff, touch up and make up our bodies. Toxic ingredients and ingredients to look out for are described in depth. Many words used on labels and in advertising aren't necessarily what we think. Natural does not equal organic. Indeed I found myself in the bathroom, book in hand, scouring the labels of my shampoo and body wash. (very scary...) Formaldehyde is banned in Canada, Japan and the European Union but is deemed safe for use in cosmetics in the United States, despite the US EPA classifying it as a carcinogen.

Deacon provides alternatives - organic and natural suppliers websites with an in depth review of each. I am checking out these lists for sure. She also provides 'recipes' for many products you can make yourself - facial masks and scrubs for example.

The title? The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found 61% of lipsticks tested contained detectable levels of lead, but none included lead as an ingredient on the label. Check out the Cosmetics Database as well.

There's Lead in Your Lipstick is an excellent resource - one I will be referring to often. Gill has also provided a handy wallet-sized tip sheet you can print off and take shopping with you.

Canadian readers - make sure you enter to win a copy of Deacon's book AND and an Eco Kiss kit. Ends May 7/11.


Pam (@iwriteinbooks) said...

I've read several other books like this one but haven't gotten to this one, yet. At first it wasn't high on my list because I've tried to keep up with such things. I've been seeing such great reviews of this, though, as a resource, that I think I might just have to snag it. Thanks for a positive review!

bermudaonion said...

This sounds a little scary, but also like something everyone should read.