My next few posts will be focusing on some interesting tidbits of green information I discovered. The more I read about environmentally friendly, all-natural, organic products, the more I realize the importance of research. I consider myself a ‘green’ greenie and part-time sleuth these days.
Greenwashing. “The practice of companies disingenuously spinning products and policies as environmentally friendly. It is a deceptive use of green PR or green marketing. The term green sheen similarly been used to describe organizations that attempt to show that they are adopting practices beneficial to the environment” ~ Wikipedia
I was shocked to discover the following terms are almost meaningless. Hypoallergenic, Allergy-Tested, Dermatologist-Tested and Fragrance-Free. These scientific words imply safety and natural purity but the reality is they mean almost nothing since they are unregulated by the government. According the FDA there is no such thing as a non-allergenic cosmetic since everything can cause a reaction to someone.
Here is another marketing ploy. Against Animal Testing. Cruelty Free, or Not Tested on Animals. Often these labels do not mean what they imply. In some cases companies mean they do not test animals in their buildings…they outsource it to other labs. Sometimes it means that a product has not tested on animals in the last five years but the research is current.
Isn’t that interesting? I say interesting with the intonation a TV detective uses after discovering a clue <while raising one eyebrow>. Surprising? Not really…I guess.
So what can consumers do about this? Even though labelling is unregulated, there is still a chance what the manufacturer says is true. The best way to tell is to look for this Leaping Bunny logo from The Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC). This is a great website for listing Canadian, U.S. and International companies that support cruelty free practices. They provide a free pocket sized shopping guide too. Be careful to check for the real Leaping Bunny logo and not an imitation. Yup, there are fake cute bunnies slapped onto labels out there. Another trustworthy source is PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). Click HERE to search for cruelty free companies and products.
You can also investigate your favourite beauty and personal care products to find out just how “natural” or “organic” they really are at the Environmental Working Group Safety Cosmetic’s Database (EWG). Warning, do not attempt this if you are having a grumpy day…it will only make things worse.
There is Right to Know movement happening. The hope is that manufacturers will have to list all ingredients and disclose if a product is hormone disrupting etc. so consumers can make informed purchasing decisions. For more information about this, have a look at Toxic Free Canada website.
I feel duped and mad at myself for being so trusting. That is in the past now and naiveté is sooo 2008. I hope these little nuggets of green information help you with your future purchases.