Annie Leonard, who revolutionized in 2007 the online media with her 20 minutes video ‘The Story of Stuff’, is now focusing on the cosmetics industry and its toxic impact on the consumers.
Since its launch July 21, the author received the broad support – among others from cancer survivors, salon workers who’ve been harmed by chemical exposures on the job, green business owners and people around the world who are interested in raising the debate about toxic chemicals in the everyday cosmetics.
The fim explains in the simple way the existing mechanisms dominating this industry and the ways, the individual consumer can influence his/her choice and change it.
See the film below:
In the article written together with Stacy Malkan in Huffington Post, August 4, Annie Leonard describes the main reasons for launching ‘The story of cosmetics’.
‘#1: Cancer Prevention
We made this film for Annie’s grandmother who died of cancer before Annie was born, for Stacy’s college roommate who died of cancer at 38, for Lisa who was 19 when she lost her mother to breast cancer — and for all the moms, sisters, daughters, sons and fathers who are dealing with diseases that may be preventable.
We are living in a time when one in two American men and one in three women will get some type of cancer in their lifetimes. This is not normal. This is not acceptable. This is not the way it was when our grandparents were born. Why is it this way now?
Part of the answer lies in the 1950s mindset of “better living through chemistry.” That’s when companies figured out how to process oil into chemicals, and billions of tons of synthetic substances that never before existed in nature were put into commerce with little thought to the impacts on health and the environment. Companies just weren’t required to study that stuff.
Decades later, it’s clear we’ve got some big problems. The risk of getting breast cancer increased more than 40% in just our lifetimes, and many other types of cancer including childhood, testicular and prostate cancers are on the rise.
#2: Getting carcinogens out of baby shampoo is common sense
Some companies argue that baby shampoos and other products contain just tiny amounts of cancer-causing chemicals, and there’s no proof these exposures are causing cancer in people. Never mind that no one is even studying the cancer risk to kids exposed to carcinogens every day in the bathtub.
How about just getting carcinogens out of baby shampoo? Many companies have already figured out how to make great products without using chemicals that are known to cause cancer in lab animals.
So why aren’t all the companies doing that? It goes back to that 1950s mindset again. Despite their reputation for innovation, many cosmetics companies are using the same toxic chemistry processes they’ve been using for decades, and they justify it with a theory straight from the 18th century: “the dose makes the poison.”
The old theory was that if a high dose of a toxic substance causes cancer in lab studies, then lower doses were safe. But it’s not that simple. According to the more recent science, it’s not just the size of the dose that matters, but the timing of the dose, the age and size of the person exposed, the potential for low-dose effects and the enhanced toxicity of chemical mixtures.
#3: We believe in a better way
We believe it’s possible to get rid of the toxins and still have a thriving healthy cosmetics industry with abundant opportunities for small businesses. We believe the best thing for the whole American economy is to move away from the old polluting technologies in chemistry and energy and develop the next generation of clean, green products that people around the world want to buy.
In fact, the fastest growing segment of the cosmetics industry, even during the recession, has been the natural and organic sector, largely driven by growing consumer concern about toxic chemicals. But with no legal standards for these products, it’s challenging for consumers to sort through the greenwash and make the best choices.
See also the almost 1-hour fascinating interview with Annie Leonard made by Penn State this year:
Recommended: Annie Leonard recommends the Skin Deep website, where the consumers can find the user and nature friendly products as well as get some guidance about the toxic ingredients in everyday products.
See also the famous
The Story of Stuff
as well as
The Story of Bottled Water