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Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry Paperback – November 1, 2007
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Lead in lipstick? 1,4 dioxane in baby soap? Coal tar in shampoo? How is this possible?
Simple. The $35 billion cosmetics industry is so powerful that they've kept themselves unregulated for decades.
Not one cosmetic product has to be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration before hitting the market. Incredible? Consider this:
- The European Union has banned more than 1,100 chemicals from cosmetics. The United States has banned just 10.
- Only 11% of chemicals used in cosmetics in the US have been assessed for health and safety – leaving a staggering 89% with unknown or undisclosed effects.
- More than 70% of all personal care products may contain phthalates, which are linked to birth defects and infertility.
- Many baby soaps are contaminated with the cancer-causing chemical 1,4 dioxane.
It's not just women who are affected by this chemists' brew. Shampoo, deodorant, face lotion and other products used daily by men, women and children contain hazardous chemicals that the industry claims are "within acceptable limits." But there's nothing acceptable about daily multiple exposures to carcinogenic chemicals-from products that are supposed to make us feel healthy and beautiful.
Not Just a Pretty Face delves deeply into the dark side of the beauty industry, and looks to hopeful solutions for a healthier future. This scathing investigation peels away less-than-lovely layers to expose an industry in dire need of an extreme makeover.
15 percent of the purchase price of each book sold benefits the national Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, administered by the Breast Cancer Fund, through December 31, 2012.(2007-04-20)
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Still, the book has its issue. The attempt to be chatty and casual falls flat, and kept me from taking the reportage very seriously. I am on the author's side, and appreciate the place that muckracking and biased issue journalism can have, but coupled with the cutesy tone I found it unconvincing in its un-objectivity. If I was a skeptic of the charges against the cosmetics industry, I would remain so after reading this book. It reads more like a screed than an expose, and can be rather rambling on the first person anecdotes while amateur in its presentation of broader issues.
This book attempts to be a Food, Inc of the beauty industry, and while it isn't quite, it nonetheless is a good start at calling attention to the dangers of commercial cosmetics. I will loan it out to friends who are on the fence about going all-natural, but would not recommend it for skeptics.
Having said that, let me try and and provide a constructive review.
This is a book that proposes to expose the seedy underside of the cosmetics industry. It is very readable and "user friendly". I read it from cover to cover in just a few days and in every chapter learned/was repulsed by something new. Given my biases I do encourage readers to check out the provided sources to determine for themselves the veracity of the information (I did so and was convinced). However, be aware that this is not an unbiased perspective. The author has a definite point of view (which I happen to agree with) but still raise some interesting and important issues that are worthy of further consideration beyond the "preaching to the choir" crowd. It is a well written, entertaining read and encourages you to pause and think a moment without being overly preachy. My wife is now regularly visiting the database the author and the affiliated organization has set up and made self informed choices about makeup, sunscreens and other cosmetics. Not as a reactionary "go all natural" consumer but being able to make reasonable choices about products that work for her and possible alternatives that are less risky/carcinogenic.
I highly recommend this book.
We found the book riveting and to be honest a little scary, especially with our having three grand daughters.
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Only wish this book were available in "old fashioned" CD book, to give to a friend who just doesn't...Read more