Cosmetic Dangers- Forseen?


As I was listening on Monday to all the dangers posed by the everyday cosmetics, it reminded me of a plot point from Tim Burton's 1989 film Batman. In the film, the main villain, the Joker, takes over a huge chemical company and uses his knowledge of chemistry to create a line of cosmetic and hygienic products that, when used in combination, will cause the wearer to die laughing. I thought during the presentation that this is essentially what's happening today. Given that today's cosmetics won't cause one to die laughing, it does raise an interesting point that here we are 21 years after that movie came out and yet our cosmetics do pose a health risk that most people don't even realize, just like the citizens of Gotham City in the movie. I'm sure that no one watching that movie in 1989 would have dreamed that cosmetics they would wear one day would become so hazardous to their health. And to go further, the citizens in the movie were saved from the Joker's products because Batman found out the problem and released the knowledge to the press. As we in the real world have no such Dark Knight to protect us, this means that people do not know about the dangers posed by the chemicals in cosmetics. True, the website that the group presented does have the information that people need to know, but many people are pretty much unaware of its existence. So who should go about the task of informing the public? Is it the responsibility of consumers to know what they're buying? Or the government to protect its citizens? Or the companies to protect their customers?



I too was extremely shocked when I found out how many hidden dangers were in cosmetics. I mean this is something that I use every day and the fact that it could potentially cause me long term health effects is a very frightening thing to think about. It was especially concerning to me that the cosmetic industry and companies must know about these risks and just choose to still put them on the market. Essentially, they are knowingly putting their clients in danger, and it doesn’t seem like anyone is giving it a second thought. So it seems that the cosmetic industry itself is playing the part of the “joker” in this setting. They have concocted recipes that will “improve you” in an instant but may later cause cancer or birth defects. At what point is it too dangerous to allow cosmetic industries to keep releasing products that are putting people at risk. It seems ridiculous to me that we are sacrificing health to have a nice smelling body wash in the shower. I mean there are certainly things the cosmetic industry could be doing to make their products safer without jeopardizing the function of the product. So why are they continuing to make dangerous products and why are we continuing to buy them when there are safer alternatives? It seems in this case we need to be our own “Batman” and demand the change in the cosmetic industry ourselves. As long as people keep consuming these hazardous products then companies will keep producing them and change to safer products will never come. However, if we stop buying harmful products in exchange for safer ones, companies will be forced to make a change to more friendly products because that it what the consumers will be demanding. It is up to us to be our own heroes and secure our health in the cosmetic industry as well as improve it for future generations.

Firstly, I was one of the presenters in the cosmetic group and I really like the Batman and Joker reference because that is essentially what is happening. The scary part is how little is known about what is being taken in my our bodies via our skin. Secondly, in my opinion, it really needs to be the government that step up to change things. We have already established restrictions on food and put warning labels on harmful chemical and cigarettes. The cosmetic companies are in the business to make money and I think it's probably unlikely they will change without a push from both the consumer and the government. Lastly, another thing to consider is the fact that there are other things out there that should be better tested and regulated. For example both of my male roommates take supplements and proteins that are meant to help the user build muscle, these products also go unregulated because they are considered a voluntary product used for enhancement... does this sound familiar to anyone? Trying to meet a cultural stereotype that is pre-set for us does not seem completely voluntary to me and it is ridiculous that while we are trying to fit in we are basically killing ourselves. Where is our Batman?

First off, I absolutely love that movie. I would choose the old one over the new one because of the added comedic side to it, whether that side is intended or not. The new "Batman" movie was just too serious for me. Along the lines of the topic at hand, I really enjoyed this post as well as the presentation that we saw about the dangers of the cosmetology industry. Being a male, I don't use the same amount of beauty products as the prototypical female so I was unaware of so many of the facts that I was presented with. The fact that the makeup industry does not have to share what they use in their products was absolutely appalling. It makes zero sense to me because these products are being use on people's bodies and, in turn, could affect them with whatever ingredient that is present in their product. I am, however, sort of relieved that they do have a website to educate people somewhat about the products one is using. I would think that there should be some sort of group that could advertise the existence of the website. This could be a non-profit organization or possibly a government funded group that could educate people more about what they are being exposed to. I really think this could be achieved if there were some people that felt so passionate about such a topic.

I completely forgot that that was the plot for the first Batman movie until you brought this blog up (Michael Keaton was the best Batman, so how could I forget). Anyway I totally agree with you that the plot of this movie is exactly what is happening today, and it is pretty scary that that was a fictional movie over 20 years ago but it is reality today. To answer your question of who should inform the public, I think it could be a few different people, The Skin Deep people, the FDA (if they can get cosmetic companies to disclose information) or even the cosmetic companies themselves. I do think that part of the responsiblity of what the consumer is buying does go to them but that can be with anything that a consumer buys, they should probably know about a product before they purchase it. When it comes to the government and the companies, they also have part of the responsibility to protect the consumers, but I do not think that this will happen all that soon, possibly but unfortunately if consumers want to know what is in their cosmetics, they are going to have to do the research themselves.

I think while this website is very informational, it is unlikely that the general public is even aware of it. While there are tons of information to be found on the internet, most people like myself just cannot seem to be bothered to spend that extra thirty minutes or so to research the ingredients of a product before I head out to Target and buy it. I believe the burden of awareness of a product should not fall on just one party, be it the public, government or the manufacturing and retail company. However I do believe that the consumer ultimately can influence the market because the success or failure of a cosmetic product is dictated by the buying habits of the consumer. That is why companies spend millions of dollars on ads to sell a product by creating this idea of a ‘must have’ product or by tapping into the insecurities of the consumer because that is the culture we live in today. Companies only do enough to get their bottom line met, they provide enough disclosure of a product just so they can pass it through the FDA but usually that information alone is not enough for the consumer to make a fully informed decision. Government agencies have to spend a lot of money on conducting studies and research on the effects of a product and there is not enough resources to do this for every single product out on the market. I think as an end user, ultimately the consumer can dictate the longevity of a product by doing enough research and saying no to a product but this culture will not just happen overnight. People have become too jaded and lazy to care because there is no running away from big pharmaceutical companies. I am a prime example of this vicious cycle. As a young teenager I may have damaged my hair with extensive use of hair spray and now I have a premature receding hairline. The industry that profits from the insecurity of balding men is a very lucrative industry. Many times I have found myself contemplating on the ad for Rogaine, a hair loss medication. I am just too skeptical of using more chemical on my balding scalp and therefore I choose to just have a clean shaved head and feel secure about the way I look because I just do not think that I can truly find out if this product is hazardous.

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This page contains a single entry by gopherit06 published on November 20, 2010 12:40 PM.

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