By Dev Gowda, U.S. PIRG
With Mother’s Day coming up on May 13, picking the perfect gift for Mom is on the minds of millions of Americans. Many of us will be giving our moms perfumes, bath bombs and beauty products as gifts this Mother’s Day. We’ll be shopping for the right gift, the right color, the right smell, and the right price — and probably not thinking about whether or not the perfume we buy Mom is potentially dangerous.
But sadly, potentially harmful chemicals are something we do have to worry about in beauty products.
The average American is exposed to 100 different chemicals from personal care products before they leave the house in the morning, and the average woman uses a dozen products daily. We should be able to trust that the products we buy are safe — especially those that we use every day, directly on our bodies. But we may be giving our loved ones more than just a pleasantly scented lotion or perfume — we may be giving them an added dosage of unwanted chemicals that have been linked to serious health problems.
A lot of these lotions and perfumes contain something called fragrance. That sounds like an ingredient, but it’s not a very specific one. Fragrance actually refers to a mixture of scent chemicals, which are ingredients that manufacturers aren’t required to list on the bottle. According to the International Fragrance Association, more than 3,000 chemicals can be used to make fragrance. And some of these 3,000 ingredients are linked to cancer, reproductive and respiratory problems, and allergies.
Most people are shocked when they learn that manufacturers can put almost anything they want in personal care products. The FDA doesn’t do safety testing or require approval before these products hit the shelves, so consumers have to put pressure on manufacturers, and demand that these products are safe.
Last year, Unilever, the maker of many popular personal care product brands such as Dove and Caress, and Procter & Gamble (the manufacturer behind popular brands like Olay) committed to disclose all fragrance ingredients in their products. And Target Corp. announced that it will disclose fragrance ingredients and remove many toxic chemicals from personal care products by 2020.
But L’Oreal has been silent. The maker behind popular brands like Garnier, Lancome and several perfume brands such as Yves Saint Laurent has not made a similar commitment, leaving consumers in the dark.
U.S. PIRG Education Fund is urging L’Oréal to follow the lead of other companies and disclose which chemicals they use in their fragrances, and to identify and eliminate dangerous chemicals of concern. Consumers have a right to know what they’re using on their bodies, especially if what they’re using is a potential carcinogen.
Our moms are worth it. Shouldn’t L’Oreal agree? This Mother’s Day, L’Oreal should disclose fragrance ingredients and make it toxic-free.
Join U.S. PIRG Education Fund in calling on L’Oreal to make it toxic-free and disclose fragrance ingredients here.
And click here to make a phone call to L’Oreal to tell the company to disclose fragrance ingredients.