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The Story of Stuff: Cosmetics
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The Story of Stuff: Cosmetics

Matilda Lee

27th October, 2010

Annie Leonard is back with another installment of the Story of Stuff - this time taking an in-depth look at the cosmetics industry and how we are dying to be beautiful

A few years ago there was a media furore over the revealed harmful effects of parabens - an ingredient used in thousands of beauty products to preserve shelf life. But parabens, some companies fought back, are naturally occuring and can be found in no less than the common blueberry.

True, but the synthetic versions derived from petrochemicals have been linked to oestrogen-mimicking effects. While many consumers today will avoid parabens, especially because there are a host of products selling themselves as 'paraben-free', there are many, many other ingredients with unknown and often harmful side effects - if not on humans, than on wildlife living downstream. Parabens are just the tip of the iceberg as far as harmful ingredients go.

The average consumer needs to be a sleuth - decifering those long, mouthful ingredients on the backs of bottles to ascertain whether or not they will be putting car de-greasing materials in their hair or lead on their lips.

The quick way to learn more is to watch Annie Leonard's new movie. Then apply the precautionary principle the next time you shop for beauty products - it is safe to say that this will lead you far away from most of the mainstream brands.


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