The illusory nature of modern life and the consumer society is becoming increasingly apparent. International affairs keep on making the same point. Once again, the environmental and humanitarian advocates at Greenpeace have raised public awareness, this time with Cosmetox, their guide to the use of industrial chemicals and beauty products.
In an era where appearances and superficial beauty are everything, it seems that consumers are capable of forgetting that they regularly use toxic substances – in everyday products. Toothpaste, makeup remover, shampoo, shower gel, babycare products, makeup and perfume all come under scrutiny. Brands and manufacturers are awarded good or bad marks accordingly. Despite its fun approach, this guide has the serious aim of enabling readers to become aware of the potential danger if nothing is done to prevent cosmetics multinationals from using synthetic and chemical substances as they see fit. For instance, readers discover that some substances are used to add smell, colour or taste to products like toothpaste and lip balm. Potential dangers include a damaged immune system, breast cancer, decreased fertility for both women and men, as well as other growth and development anomalies.
Cosmetox is certainly disquieting. Being confronted with reality in this way may be unpleasant, but at the end of the day only we can respond, by consuming better and less. Making more informed choices will certainly enable us to improve our health and protect the environment - these substances are major polluters, too.
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