Toxic Beauty Documentary


If you’ve been a subscriber for some time, you know how I love documentaries! I just watched Toxic Beauty on CBC Gem (watch it here). Here’s the official description: “A whistleblower, her lawyer, world-class scientists, cancer survivors and those who have lost their lives, strip a dominant pharmaceutical company of all credibility in this powerful documentary film while exposing the hard truths about dangerous, unregulated chemicals and toxins in cosmetics and care products.”

It’s 78 minutes long, was released in 2019 and focuses mostly on Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder. Talcum powder may contain asbestos and has been linked to endometrial and ovarian cancer and is a probable respiratory toxin. It’s always shocking to find out what goes on in those big corporations and disturbing when you discover that money, not our health or safety, is the bottom line. We put so much trust in these corporations and assume they’re doing the right thing. Cosmetic companies are no better than big pharma, tobacco, and pesticide companies. And it’s the same story over and over again. Someone raises concern over a product, some testing is done, the big greedy corporation completely denies and laughs at any “preposterous” allegations, citing that their product is completely safe, and they are full of ‘truth and integrity’. They cite their own studies that show their product is completely safe, meanwhile in legal proceedings, their other internal studies, memos, and reports show that they are well aware of the harm their products are causing. It pisses me right off and motivates me even more to support small businesses.

Because I’m always researching, I quickly noticed the documentary’s two shortcomings. The first is the mention of lavender as an endocrine disruptor in boys. This was a wrong conclusion in a scientific experiment that was published everywhere and since this documentary was released in 2019, I can forgive them for that. The other is that it confuses the way cosmetic ingredient safety is handled in Canada versus the US. (see How Health Canada Regulates Cosmetics)

In 2021, after a two and a half year assessment, Health Canada concluded that talc is harmful to human health, has added it to the Toxic Substances List and restricted its use in cosmetic products. If you look at Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder today, you’ll see they are using cornstarch instead of talc. 

There are currently no restrictions on talc in the US. However if you're a resident, check out the Consumer Notice's guide on talc that includes risks, tips and alternatives. 

The restriction of talc is the only update to my Ingredients of Concern. Get your copy here.

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