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Greens call for an end to the cosmetic cover-up

Greens call for an end to the cosmetic cover-up

Green MP Sue Kedgley is calling for all cosmetic products to be properly labelled and registered, following safety concerns being raised overseas about the chemical make-up of some cosmetic products and hair dyes.

A Green Party survey of 120 cosmetics commonly available in pharmacies and supermarkets has shown the presence of parabens in 81 per cent of them. Parabens have been detected in human breast tissue and linked in overseas studies to breast cancer in women. A European Commission scientific committee had previously raised concerns over the safety of some hair dyes.

"Whatever we put on our skin finds its way into our body, yet there are no regulations governing the 20 thousand substances used in cosmetics," said Sue Kedgley, the Green Party's Health spokesperson. "Cosmetics and shampoos are applied directly to the skin, and many people wear cosmetic preparations all year round.

"It is vital that consumers can be sure that there are no chemicals that accumulate in their bodies that could be harmful to human health. We know that cosmetics contain ingredients that are classed as industrial chemicals."

Ms Kedgley said it was encouraging that ERMA was planning, at long last, to develop a generic cosmetic standard, but said it was proposing a weak regime which would not offer the protection or information consumers needed.

"We need an electronic register of all cosmetic products that is accessible to the public, and a requirement that all ingredients in cosmetics are declared on a label," Ms Kedgley said.

Ms Kedgley said the Green Party also wanted a list of substances that are not permitted in cosmetics, including parabens and any other oestrogenic substances that mimic the action of the female hormone oestrogen.

"Published studies have shown that parabens, which mimic the hormone oestrogen which is known to play a role in the development of breast cancers, can be absorbed through the skin and accumulate in breast tissue," said Ms Kedgley.

"Our legislation stipulates that products must be safe, but it is currently left to manufacturers themselves to decide what is safe. We believe that consumers should have the right - and the knowledge - to make that decision for themselves."

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