Death by product

Aimee Lastrella

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I apologize about the dramatic entrance.

But I felt that I needed to get your attention to tell you that everyday we are hurting ourselves, through the products we use.

The other day after I took a shower, I decided to try this new hair serum that my friend was raving about last week. It smelled kind of funky, but she said it would do wonders for my hair- making it shiny, silky and smooth.

I tried it and she was right- my hair looked fabulous, but the smell of my hair (wasn’t bad)- it still bugged me. So I decided to look at the ingredients to this magical hair serum.

I turned it around and there were about a million things I couldn’t pronounce-let alone know what they were- in this tiny little container.

So I did some research and you wouldn’t believe what I found.

Amongst all the clutter of information on what some of these mystery ingredients were, I found the scariest truth that made something so simple as getting ready, terrify me.

I’m talking about lead in my lipstick and formaldehyde in my shampoo, among a long list of scary things that I am apparently  willingly putting into and on my body. It’s like a silent suicide note everyone is writing because we all buy these toxin-filled products.

Along my search, I stumbled upon a video that opened up my eyes to a whole new understanding of this death sentence we call the beauty market.

Its an 8-minute long video, called The Story of Cosmetics, concerning itself with the dangers of the health and beauty products we use on a daily basis.

Made by the creators of the viral eco-video The Story of Stuff, the Story of Cosmetics looks into the effects products have on our long-tem lives. Some  have carcinogens, neurotoxins and reproductive toxins that could lead to big problems, such as learning disabilities and, worse, sexual dysfunction.

But us just using the product doesn’t just mean we are harming ourselves, but we are really harming the world.

Think about it. The workers who handle and create these poisonous concoctions are at harm, the communities that are polluted by the production of the product are harmed and you, the consumer, are killing yourself by using it and everyone else because you’re purchasing it.

Annie Leonard, who narrates the video, says that we are all just part of one huge experiment. Adding that companies are stuck in old mindsets and seeing how far they can push the consumer’s wants and health.

The short video calls out numerous companies, but one in particular was Estee Lauder for tricking customers into thinking that their products are good for their health by using terms like herbal, natural and organic  (which are all unregulated usages) while selling products that are made with chemicals linked to cancer.

The problem has grown so much with that President’s Cancer Panel released a report this year, stating links between common chemicals in products and cancer.

So as readers and consumers, I urge you to get educated. Watch the video and learn about what is out there are what you are potentially doing to your body and those around the product.

And next time you go shopping, take a look at the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep cosmetic safety database, which gives a general safety rating on products.