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Is Organic Really Better?
Posted: July 3, 2007
According to recent reports, British biochemist Richard Bence, an advocate for organic beauty products, stated that women who use makeup daily are absorbing almost five pounds of chemicals each year. He also urged consumers to question the products they put onto their skin. According to United Press International, Bence said, "We have no idea what these chemicals do when they are mixed together." He added that the effect could be much more than the sum of the individual parts.
With concerns for toxicity prominent in today's world, statements such as these tend to quickly spur controversy: Are these genuine concerns or hype for organic products?
The Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association in Europe commented that cosmetic products are covered by European Union rules requiring them to be safe, as featured in The Telegraph newspaper. This cocktail effect is an urban myth, the spokesman added--the industry knows how different chemicals react individually and can predict how they interact. These interactions are taken into account when safety is assessed.
The Daily Mail, among other sources, picked up on this story, reporting that Bence said there is a growing amount of research questioning the ingredients found in conventional beauty products and that consumer really need to start questioning the products they are putting on their skin.
Counter to this rising concern, The Independent ran a story on this claim made by Bence and interviewed Professor Philip Newsholme, a biochemist and senior lecturer at the University College Dublin, who challenged these findings as being questionable, and stated that women who switch to organic makeup are still ingesting the same basic ingredients since organic makeup is based on natural oils, as is non-organic commercially available cosmetics. He said, in the report, "They all come from similar oils and waxes so there's no real advantage of going organic."