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Marie Claire Fuels Old Fears about Beauty Products

     In an attempt to dredge up old fears about beauty products, Marie Claire alarmed readers with an onslaught of one-sided experts and arguments about why you should be more concerned with what you put on your body than what you put in it.

     In an attempt to dredge up old fears about beauty products, Marie Claire alarmed readers with an onslaught of one-sided experts and arguments about why you should be more concerned with what you put on your body than what you put in it.

 

     The magazine’s October issue, featured an article on ‘Eco-beauty’ that was supposed to recount the trials of natural beauty products versus man-made products by the newly pregnant columnist Cara Birnbaum. However, the report itself contained little of the experiences, relying instead on so-called experts’ (including Stella McCartney) fears about chemicals.

 

     “When you apply chemicals to the skin and they penetrate the bloodstream, they can produce effects almost anywhere in the body. At least when you take them by mouth, they pass through the liver where they’re detoxified,” said Dr. Samuel Epstein according to Birnbaum.

 

     Epstein has been outspoken about the danger of chemicals in cosmetics and other common products and has also appeared in the 2003 anti-corporate documentary “The Corporation.” Left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore and Noam Chomsky were both featured in the same film.

 

     But Birnbaum never admitted in the article that the fears mentioned have been heavily criticized by other experts.  

 

     One fear—that certain ingredients in deodorants, shampoos, and cosmetics are linked to various types of cancer—came from a 2000 and 2002 Environmental Working Group (EWG) study.

 

     But according to the American Council of Science and Health (ACSH), the conclusion that those chemicals caused cancer “do[es] not reflect solid scientific consensus, and thus are alarmist rather than informational.”

 

     President of ACSH and Business & Media Institute advisor Dr. Elizabeth Whelan wrote in 2006 that the tests by the EWG were conducted in a way that bore little likeness to normal human exposure and were “virtually irrelevant to human health.”

 

     When Birnbaum finally questioned whether she did indeed need to be as “obsessive” about what goes onto her face as what goes into her stomach, she didn’t turn to a scientist – but to Stella McCartney, the designer and creator of a new chemical-free skincare line.

 

     Predictably, McCartney’s response enthusiastically supported chemical-free products like her own.   

     The article’s one voice of moderation came from Jeffrey Dover of Yale University who contradictorily suggested “minimizing the use of chemical skin products during pregnancy, although the ingredients are perfectly safe.”