Planned Parenthood and Maine Women’s Policy Center Partner to Screen Groundbreaking Film on Harmful Chemicals in Cosmetics
Portland (ME) –Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE) and the Maine Women’s Policy Center partnered in the screening of the new film "The Story of Cosmetics" on Monday night. The film explored the health implications of cosmetics for consumers, workers, the environment, and showed how we can move the industry away from hazardous chemicals and toward safer alternatives. Following the film, a panel of experts discussed ways to “give the beauty industry a makeover” to a crowd of over 45 people.
“Families need information about what harmful chemicals are in cosmetics and personal care products to ensure that the products they use on a daily basis do not hinder their ability to have a safe and healthy pregnancy and family,” said Steve Trombley, President/CEO of PPNNE. “For more information about the work PPNNE is doing in the community around environmental health check out our blog, www.good-chemistry.org.”
“Not only did The Story of Cosmetics educate us about the harmful chemicals in our personal care products, but it also inspired a great conversation with the panel and audience about what we can do,” said Anne Sheldon, Community Organizer for Maine’s Women’s Policy Center. “To ensure that we keep our families and communities safe we need federal and state legislation to protect us.”
The panel included a wide range of speakers: Rebecca Herzig, Bates College Women and Gender Studies Department, Sarah Hart from WATCH, Women Against Toxic Cosmetics Harm, Lora Winslow, Executive Director of the Naked Truth Project, and Kristine Jenkins, Outreach and Organizing Director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center. A common question was: How can we reduce our exposure? Some simple solutions were offered:
- Simplify: use less products less often and choose products with shorter ingredient lists and fewer hazardous synthetic chemicals;
- Avoid the mystery concoction known as “fragrance,” made from a dozen or more secret chemicals;
- Read labels: Thankfully there are great resources online to help consumers make sense of confusing product labels. One of the best is the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database at www.cosmeticsdatabase.org, which ranks products for toxicity on a scale of 1-10.