Scary Report on Canada’s Cosmetic Industry Safety and Transparency

Songdove Books - Mom's Little Black Book of Skincare & Make-upEarlier this year when I released my companion book to “Mom’s Little Black Book: Godly Advice for the High School Graduate” (available on Amazon), “Mom’s Little Black Book of Skincare & Make-up” had this to say on pg 29:

“Researching cosmetic ingredients is occasionally an exercise in shock and awe. Companies in Canada since 2006 must give a list of ingredients for their make-up product lines. ”

I was encouraged by this discovery, because back in the late 90’s this was not the case.  When considering a major event to teach women about healthy skincare and make-up as a potential way to get word out that a woman can not merely LOOK healthy, but actually BE healthy, I ran across the Government of Canada’s Cosmetic Hot List:

This is a list of ingredients that are supposedly either prohibited, or only allowed in quantities below a certain threshold.  I began asking a few companies around Kelowna for their ingredient lists and was surprised that every single product for which a list was provided, had ingredients on the official hotlist!  This was such a rude surprise that I put my event idea on hold!

You can imagine my dismay then, when the following quotes showed up in a recent article on CTV News!

“What is important for Canadian consumers to be aware of is that cosmetics are not tested prior to being put on the market,” Environment and Sustainable Development Commissioner Julie Gelfand told CTV’s Power Play on Tuesday.”

“Health Canada, she said, does not even ensure that the labels on the products match what’s inside.”

“The commissioner looked at 50 cosmetic products that were found to contain prohibited substances between April 2013 and July 2015. ”
“Exposure to dangerous chemicals can lead to everything from minor allergic reactions to reproductive, developmental and cognitive disorders — depending on the level and duration of exposure.”

“According to the report, chemicals considered endocrine disruptors are the most dangerous because they can cause a variety of neurological and immune disorders even at low doses.”

“If you have an allergic reaction or any kind of reaction to your mascara, your lipstick (or) your foundation, it’s really important for you to call Health Canada because (the agency) has a product safety program for cosmetics and depends on hearing about safety incidents,” she said.”

“Manufacturers and retailers are not legally required to inform Health Canada of any health-related incidents involving their products.”

Those who have read my little book will know that I address allergies and skin conditions in several pages crossing two chapters leading up to page 29.  To have my concerns spelled out like this at a federal government level is a bit of a rude surprise to say the least!

My challenge then, to all cosmetic companies out there who firmly believe they are helping women be and look their best, is this:

Take your public and private ingredient lists and compare them to the Cosmetic Hot List.  If you have any ingredients, whether or not you disclose those to the public, that actually sit in the prohibited list, what can you do to replace those?  If you have ingredients that are only allowed under a certain threshold, do their quantities actually sit below the threshold or are they at or above it?  For those ingredients that are at, or above it, what can you do to lower those ingredient quantities, or replace them?

For any company whose public AND private ingredient lists are nowhere to be found on the Cosmetic hotlist, I WANT to hear from you!  You are the kind of company I want to feature in an event that would help women learn how to BE their best, not merely look it.

I wonder how many cosmetic companies are willing to take up this challenge.