Wanda Lynne Young: Bookalicious


There's Lead In Your Lipstick by Gillian Deacon

A Tale of Toxic Toiletries

April is a popular month for many causes but one thing we should all care about is our planet earth. We have Earth Day, Earth Week, and some communities hold earth events that run the whole month. Another thing we have in common as humans on this earth is our regular use of beauty and hygiene products. Here are some questions that might make you go hmmm?

Have you ever wondered what’s in the cosmetic you’re about to apply to yourself? Do you assume it’s safe because you picked it up off a store shelf? Are your products safe or could they cause harm? Are all these questions a just cause for alarm?

If Gillian Deacon has anything to say about this then her answer would be - yes! We should all be concerned consumers and this is where I introduce my guest blogger Leslie Garrett, author of "The Virtuous Consumer". Leslie has read There’s Lead in Your Lipstick: Toxins in Our Everyday Care and How to Avoid Them by Gillian Deacon and she wants to share her views on this topic.

Guest Blog Review by Leslie Garrett

There’s generally a stunned silence when, talking to a crowd at an event or consumer show, I note that 89% of ingredients in our personal care products have never been tested…and certainly never been tested in combination with the other ingredients in which they appear in our lotions and potions.

Wha? seems to be the general mood. You mean…?

Yep. Thing is, that stuff on the shelves that promises to strip ten years off our faces, blast cellulite from our thighs and make our cheekbones look chiseled enough to cut through leather is often toxic enough to rob us of ten years of our lives, make cellulite the least of our problems and feminize male reproductive systems.

Surely I exaggerate. I wish. And that’s where Gillian Deacon comes in.

While researching her book, which aims to wipe the pretty smile off the personal care industry, Deacon was diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer. And though she admits she’ll never know definitively that a lifetime exposed to various environmental toxins caused her cancer, given the increasingly available research into our products, it’s a fair guess.

And none of us thinks ridding ourselves of wrinkles is worth paying for with our lives.

What’s more, when people (and even I!) wonder if perhaps we’re becoming a bit too paranoid about the ingredients in our products, I generally come up with the same response that Deacon espouses in her book: There are quite safe alternatives that do exactly what their toxic cousins promise. So why take the chance?

Deacon is a subscriber, as am I, to the precautionary principle. It’s basic common sense with a fancy name and it dictates that products should not be on the shelves unless they’ve been proven to be safe. Of course, our North American market operates under quite the opposite principle: Products are on the shelf until they’ve been proven to be unsafe or, as Deacon explains, there’s "unequivocal scientific proof of harm or wrongdoing”. Which is why our kids are soaking in tubs of toxic bubbles linked to hormone disruption, our shampoo lathers up with a suspected carcinogen, and our perfume contains a banned substance classified as hazardous waste and also found in paint strippers. Plenty of this stuff isn’t found in European products, where ingredients fall under much greater scrutiny. In the meantime, however, they’re easily found at your local store.

Deacon is far less alarmist than I, nonetheless offering up relentless research to create a compelling indictment of the cosmetics industry but, more usefully perhaps, a long shopping list of safe – and Deacon-tested – personal care products. It’s like having a green-minded girlfriend steer you straight for the good stuff. And reminding you gently and persistently why you want it over the toxic alternatives.

Note to readers: Gillian Deacon has a handy wallet card cosmetic guide to take with you on your shopping trip.


Gillian Deacon is an award-winning broadcaster, writer, television host and mom. She is also the author of Green For Life: 200 Simple Eco-Ideas For Every Day. You can visit her website for more information and social media fans can follow her on Twitter: @gilldeacon.


Penguin Group Canada is offering copies of There's Lead in Your Lipstick for 2 lucky Bookalicious readers who leave a comment below telling us what surprises you found in your cosmetic bag.

Yummy Rules and Regs: You must be a Yummy Mummy Club member to win. Click to sign up! It's free and filled with perks. One comment per member. Entries accepted until April 30th, 2011. Contest open to Canadian residents only. Winners will be picked using www.random.org.
Good luck!

Relish reading,

Wanda Lynne Young

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