I Have Been Lied to. I Feel Betrayed. Part – 2

Obviously I feel extremely upset. More and more I see the lies and cover up stuff of EWG. Paul Penders Co always promoted The Safe Cosmetics Org. We proudly displayed their logo on our website. But no longer! We do no longer wish to be a part of this organization. Please do not take it from me alone. Please read a pretty amazing story of Colin Sander, a “green” cosmetic formulator in UK for almost 30 years. He too supported EWG. And he too feels being lied to as well. “Finally, I Have Worked Out What The Story of The Safe Cosmetics At 2010 is really all about”. We place Colin’s compelling story on our blog in 2 parts. Yesterday Part #1 and today Part #2.
 
                           
 
Part – 2
 
Two things made it clear to me beyond any doubt that there was a link between “American Private Label” company and the EWG.  First, one of the slides called for companies to sign the Safe Cosmetics Compact.  This is being organised by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, definitely a group completely within the EWG’s orbit.
 
Secondly, they described their services as Green Chemistry.  I was instantly reminded of the reference in the Story of Cosmetics to green chemists who were working to solve the problems caused by the unsafe ingredients in modern cosmetics.  I had no more thought that these green chemists actually existed than that the supposed carcinogens in shampoo actually existed. I had taken it as an a bit of idealistic wishful thinking. In fact it was a sales plug.
 
Now things that had puzzled me fell into place. The EWG’s ambition is no mean one.  They intend to create a new category of cosmetic product and to supply that category via American Private Label and probably other companies as well.  American Private Label already offer branding, packaging, QC and manufacturing.  But no doubt there are other sales to be made.
 
Now I could see it all.  I had imagined the EWG, which is extremely well funded, had got its money from donations.  Clearly not – this is big business in every sense of the word.  Why were they ignoring pleas from small natural companies who you would think would be their natural allies?  Because they are in fact their competition.  Why is the science on their website and in their reports so poor?  Because it isn’t science at all.  The aim is to make a case against their competition not inform the public about risk.
 
And let me emphasise this proposition is aimed at retailers.  It is not a grassroots consumer protest.  The video has been created as part of a programme to sell stuff.  The Safe Cosmetic Act is a publicity stunt.  If it alarms small producers, that is irrelevant.  If it infuriates scientists, that doesn’t matter.  The object is to deliver a tranche of consumers to the shops who will seek out ‘safe’ cosmetics.
 
And just as importantly they will be in a position to satisfy that demand with suitable products.  In his talk, David Pollack the CEO of American Private Label said that retailers should create ‘safe cosmetic’ areas in their stores.  These would be much like the organic sections they currently have. And I think the retailers will listen.
 
               
 
As the front page of American Private Label’s website says, the margins on this new category will be good.  I bet they will.  Will they be safer?  That question will probably not have even crossed their minds.  But just to be absolutely clear I believe that there will be no difference in safety between ‘safe’ products and established ones.
 
So I think I should end this post with an apology.  I write this blog with the idea that as an industry insider I have some knowledge and insight that might be useful to people who use the products of my industry.   I genuinely believed that I sort of knew what was going on.  But I have just realised that I completely missed the biggest marketing coup this business has ever seen.  I really couldn’t have got things more wrong.  Far from being a well meaning but flawed attempt to make the world better, the Story of Cosmetics is a sales pitch.  Nothing more.
 
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Colin Sanders formulates cosmetics for 27 years from shampoos to pharmaceutical creams and is an active member of the Society of Cosmetic Scientists since 1985. His degree is in environmental science and he continues to take a keen interest in the impact of human activities on the planet. He writes an excellent blog www.colinsbeautypages.co.uk for users of cosmetic products with insider insights and a bit of science.

 
    

I Have Been Lied to. I Feel Betrayed. Part – 1

Obviously I feel extremely upset. More and more I see the lies and cover up stuff of EWG. Paul Penders Co always promoted The Safe Cosmetics Org. We proudly displayed their logo on our website. But no longer! We do no longer wish to be a part of this organization. Please do not take it from me alone. Please read a pretty amazing story of Colin Sander, a “green” cosmetic formulator in UK for almost 30 years. He too supported EWG. And he too feels being lied to as well. “Finally, I Have Worked Out What The Story of The Safe Cosmetics At 2010 is really all about”. We place Colin’s compelling story on our blog in 2 parts. Today Part #1 and tomorrow Part #2.
 
                           
 
Part – 1
 
Since I was a teenager in the Seventies, I’ve always regarded myself as a pretty green. Green in the environmental sense that is.  I remember the campaign to get lead out of petrol with affection.  I studied Environmental Science at university and can remember talking long into the night about issues affecting the planet.
 
I think I even joined the Ecology Party, the forerunner of the Green Party when I was about 18 – though I don’t remember doing anything other than pay the subscription. Jobs were short when I graduated and I got a job formulating cosmetics rather than doing the environmental work I had originally had in mind.
 
I was surprised to find myself in an industry where people seemed pretty positive about issues close to my heart.  Biodegradable surfactants were a new thing but there was never any question of using anything else.  I have spoken on other blogs about the fact that formaldehyde was still in use then, but was being removed purely at the initiative of the chemists in the labs.
 
Given this, I have always listened with care and attention to the environmental lobby.  For a long time I didn’t have any problem with being an environmentalist as well as being a scientist at the same time as developing cosmetics.   They all seemed to be going in the same direction.
 
So when I first heard about an American pressure group called the Environmental Working Group I was predisposed to support them.  I came across the Skin Deep database and was initially quite impressed with the idea.  In fact I am still impressed with the idea.  Why not collect all the information about cosmetic raw materials onto a database and make it available to the public.  I hope somebody does it some day.
 
Even when I started looking things up on the Skin Deep database and found it to be almost comically inaccurate I still gave the people behind it the benefit of the doubt. I imagined enthusiastic young volunteers – probably in California – punching data in during all night long sessions powered by idealism and pizza.
 
                           
 
I assumed that they would be getting complaints and would be putting it right shortly.   You always have to give people a bit of time to get things straight. Then I saw the Story of Cosmetics video.  This really changed things.  Whatever else you think of it, this is a professional piece of work.  Time, effort and money has gone into it.  And you can’t miss that it is propaganda not advocacy.  It sets out to scare.
 
Even now, I was prepared to justify it to some extent in my mind – as you will see if you read my post from only a few days ago.  They had gone off the scale for accuracy, but maybe they felt that they had to use modern techniques to get their message across.  I started to think of the EWG as sort of green Lenninists.
 
They had betrayed the ideals of the revolution, but they were still radicals.  They had chosen the wrong way to go about fighting the system, but they were still against the system.  Even when I heard about the very large salaries that the directors of the EWG were drawing from their organisation I still did not realise what was really going on.
 
But now I understand.  Did I say I was green?  Well I sure was.  Green in the sense of being inexperienced and unknowing in the ways of the world.
 
                           
 
Today I saw a hand out from a recent trade fair in the US.  In it, a company called “American Private Label,” was pitching its services to American retailers.  Consumers, it says, want safe cosmetics.  What are safe cosmetics?
 
Well you have to avoid parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances etc.  But it wasn’t a list of all the things that have got bad head lines.  It was specifically the things that the EWG have been campaigning about.  Helpfully the names as they appear on the ingredient list that you needed to avoid were spelled out. Almost every product on the market would fall foul of this list, including ones from companies that specialise in very green products.
 
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Colin Sanders formulates cosmetics for 27 years from shampoos to pharmaceutical creams and is an active member of the Society of Cosmetic Scientists since 1985. His degree is in environmental science and he continues to take a keen interest in the impact of human activities on the planet. He writes an excellent blog www.colinsbeautypages.co.uk for users of cosmetic products with insider insights and a bit of science.

 
 

 
    

Good when the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics Pledge Closes

To me, “The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics” has grown to something as far away to understand like planet Mars. A thing to know is that The Campaign For Safe Cosmetics is a part of the political lobbying process by the Environmental Working Group (EWG); professional lobbyists who – what at many times is being said – rely on misinformation, disinformation or even lies in order to SCARE consumers. The basis of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is the Skin Deep database. After 7 years they suddenly decided to stop.
 
On their web site they invite you to “visit SkinDeep; the world’s largest database of chemicals in cosmetics” but it does not give true indication of the safety or toxicity. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics misleads consumers because the ONLY way to ensure the safety of cosmetic products is to carry out safety assessment based on existing knowledge.
 
I am very happy to report that The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics stops their Skin Deep database by September this year.

Their safety rating system from 0 (low hazard ingredients) to 10 (high hazard ingredients with many natural ingredients included) is something I disagree with many times, and that even harms the name of impeccable brands like the Paul Penders, known for using SAFE ingredients for over 40 years.
 
And even though natural ingredients can have a hazardous impact when used for long time in massive volumes, SkinDeep’s database makes indiscriminate suggestions that some natural ingredients in cosmetics are linked to cancer and other terrible diseases. And there is no such thing that SkinDeep takes into account the actual minor contents in the cosmetics product which are tested in independent labs on health safety!
 
More and more professionals in the cosmetic industry as well as scientists outside the industry criticize their rating system. They say that the conclusions of The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics are not based on valid scientific evidence. And they don’t pay heed to the relationship between hazard and risk.
 
Let me give you 2 examples of what we think is bad.

WELEDA CITRUS DEODORANT
 

  • “Biodynamic® lemon peel oil has invigorating properties and also serves as a purifying disinfectant. With no risky antiperspirants such as aluminum salts, your body’s natural detoxification process is supported while bacteria that cause unpleasant odors are neutralized.”.

To me, Weleda is a wonderful natural cosmetics company from Switzerland that I highly respect. They use great ingredients for their natural citrus deodorant. The philosophy of Weleda products are based on teachings of Dr. Rudolf Steiner. However, this excellent product is rated by The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics at high hazard level with Weleda’s ingredients in this product linked to:

  • Cancer
  • Developmental/reproductive toxicity
  • Allergies/immunotoxicity

Other concerns from them for the ingredients used are:

  • Neurotoxicity
  • Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)
  • Multiple, additive exposure sources
  • Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs)
  • Enhanced skin absorption
  • Occupational hazards

Now, let’s be honest here. Who in the world would want to buy a natural deodorant from an otherwise impeccable, one-hundred year old, pure natural cosmetics company that -without any doubt- Weleda is…. but their products suggested is linked to cancer and a host of terrible heath issues? Sorry to Weleda, because you guys deserve MUCH better!!!

Same devastating news as Weleda is given to several of our Paul Penders Natural Cosmetics as well!!
Paul Penders produces for 40 years natural cosmetics that even recently were awarded by few magazines in USA and UK. They are used by consumers in some 15 countries. These include popular products like: Rescue Blemish Away, Natural Moisture Foundation, Citrus Fruit Exfoliant and Holy Basil Conditioning Scalp Toner. These contain impeccable and safe natural ingredients including 22 certified organic herbs, natural plant oils and much more.
 
But The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics rates these products as being a possible health hazard because of few ingredients, for example: a FOOD emulsifier OK’d by the FDA but according to The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics rated as a high health hazard. And salicylic acid produced from the bark of the willow tree used in Citrus Fruit Exfoliant is a high health hazard as well. This popular product was the first natural exfoliant products on the market, introduced by our company 15 years ago in California.
 
Even we use only a fraction of these ingredients (i.e. less than 1/10th of one percent) in our final product formulation, still The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics rates these products as being “moderate to high health hazard”. Therefore, our products are linked to cancer and more terrible diseases (same as the above excellent Weleda product).
 
Should this unfair Scare-Tactic not stop?
 
OK, The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has become a powerful organization in the US with their fingers in politics and high-end people. But I don’t care and wrote them few times to demand to have all Paul Penders products taken off their SkinDeep database. Why? Because consumers start to think that they could get sick of using our natural products. But The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics responded and simply refuses to do so.
 
Therefore I have an attorney in California now looking into the matter. I even consider – together with few friends natural cosmetic manufacturers – a lawsuit against The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics when they will not comply with my request.
 
Is The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics’ rating system a joke or a nightmare? Or simply business??