Caution! Rant follows:
I think sometimes my search for products that I can actually confidently use on my skin, devoid of endocrine disrupting chemicals due to my autoimmune disease is impossible! As people are becoming more aware of everyday chemicals we come into contact with and how they can affect our health, so too are the marketing guru’s. What marketing guru’s ‘green washing’ has done for environmentally minded consumers, endocrine toxicity awareness seems to have attracted its own level of market ‘endocrine safe washing’.
What’s tiring about my vigilance seems to be the assumption by all product marketing departments that consumers are stupid and happy to trust a stamp on a bottle that suggests a product is either Paraben Free, Sulphate Free, Natural or most annoyingly Organic! Within Australia our national regulations for product disclosure are standardised through the ACCC which only requires correct labelling and doesn’t monitor word usage on the bottle such as ‘all natural or organic ingredients’.
We do have the Australian National Standard, National Organic Program and COSMOS however they each cover a different aspect of the organic product production process which is not straight forward and can be confusing for the average consumer.
Australian National Standard = Products containing the BUD logo ensures that there is a whole systems approach to the growth, processing and production of the product from farmer to the cosmetic shelves.
Unfortunately, imported products certified organic by standard’s from oversees over ride this certification. Even though we have some of the strictest regulations for organic products in Australia, a product imported from overseas bearing an international organic qualification with a lower standard than our own can still be sold and recognised as ‘organic’ in our market.
National Organic Program = Covers more of the processing and packaging side of the cosmetics production side. These guys regulate what can be used as packaging or preservatives in the production of ‘Organic products’ produced within Australia. However once again an imported product produced and packaged in a country with lower organic labelling standards can still be marketed as ‘Organic to the consumer’.
COSMOS = First Asia Pacific Based certifier of organic products based on standards set out by the International Organic Accreditation Service.While this is a step forward to unify and create an international organic standard it is not legislated as mandatory at this point within individual countries. So unless as a consumer you can recognise the following logo’s (See below), the value of it at the cosmetic counter seems to be lost overall.
Not withstanding the actual overall requirement is that a product only needs to contain 95% of organic material to support the classification. Allowing 5% of a product to contain possible endocrine disrupting preservatives.
So far from relief at the mere suggestion that a product is Paraben Free, Sulphate Free, Natural or more annoyingly Organic, I will continue to tirelessly read the ingredients list on the back of the product.