Why Consumers Remain in the Dark About Their Period and Cosmetic Care Products
We rely on period care and beauty products to enhance our self-care routines, but the lack of transparency surrounding their ingredients is concerning. Labels provide limited information, leaving us unaware of potential hazards and unintended health consequences.
For example, some companies may use generic terms like "fragrance" or "perfume" without disclosing the specific ingredients, which can include undisclosed synthetic or potentially toxic substances. Certain products, such as tampons or menstrual pads, may not disclose the materials used in their production, such as the presence of synthetic fibers, chlorine, or pesticides.
Greenwashing: Misleading Marketing Tactics: Greenwashing is a deceptive practice employed by companies to mislead consumers by portraying products as environmentally friendly and safe while concealing harmful components. This tactic hinders informed decision-making and exposes consumers to substances that can be detrimental to their health and the environment. Companies often use clever branding techniques and ambiguous statements to create an impression of eco-friendliness, even if their products have minimal or no actual environmental benefits. Terms like "natural," "green," or "eco-friendly" are frequently used without standardized definitions, leading consumers to believe that a product is more sustainable than it truly is.
In the period care industry, companies commonly employ greenwashing strategies to mislead consumers. One such strategy involves the use of false phrases like "pure" and "natural" to create the perception of eco-friendliness and healthiness. Unfortunately, these terms are not regulated and can be used freely without clear definitions. Another misleading tactic is emphasizing the presence of an "organic topsheet" in products. The topsheet is the layer that comes into contact with the skin during use, and companies emphasize its organic origin to convey a sense of environmental sensitivity and safety. However, by solely focusing on the organic topsheet, companies divert consumers' attention from the overall content and environmental impact of the product.While the topsheet may indeed be organic, it is crucial to consider the complete product lifecycle and the materials used in other layers, such as the absorbent core and backing materials. Frequently, companies do not disclose these components, which may still contain synthetic or non-biodegradable materials. By narrowly highlighting the organic topsheet, companies create an illusion of sustainability while neglecting other critical aspects of their products.
To make informed choices, consumers should look beyond the marketing claims and investigate the full composition of period care products. It's important to consider factors such as the use of organic or natural materials throughout the entire product, the company's commitment to sustainable practices, certifications from reputable organizations, and the overall environmental impact of the product's lifecycle. By scrutinizing these aspects, consumers can avoid falling for misleading greenwashing tactics and make more environmentally conscious choices.
The Need for Legislation and Regulation:
The absence of comprehensive regulations leaves consumers vulnerable. Mandatory ingredient disclosure is crucial to prevent the inclusion of harmful substances. Consumers deserve the ability to make informed choices about the products they use daily, safeguarding their well-being.
1. Legislation around Period Care:
In some countries, such as the United States, there is no specific legislation requiring ingredient disclosure for period care products.
However, legislation like the Safe Cosmetics Act and the Personal Care Products Safety Act has been introduced to enhance ingredient transparency and safety for personal care products, including those related to period care.
In the European Union, Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 requires cosmetic products, including those used for period care, to be labeled with all ingredients used.
2. Legislation around Beauty Products:
Different countries have varying regulations regarding ingredient disclosure and product safety for beauty products. For example, the European Union has strict regulations under the Cosmetic Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009, which includes mandatory ingredient labeling and safety assessments.
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has limited authority over cosmetic labeling and ingredient safety. However, some states have introduced their own legislation to address these issues, such as the California Safe Cosmetics Act.
In the United States, the regulation and oversight of personal care products lag compared to the European Union. While the EU has implemented stringent measures to protect consumer health and safety, the U.S. currently bans only 30 chemicals in personal care products. In contrast, the EU has banned approximately 1700 chemicals from use in cosmetics and other personal care items. This significant disparity in the number of banned substances highlights the need for stronger regulations in the U.S. to ensure that consumers are not exposed to potentially harmful ingredients in their daily beauty and personal care routines. Advocates for stricter regulations argue that the current limitations in the U.S. fail to adequately protect public health and emphasize the urgency for more comprehensive measures to align with the EU's higher standards.
Consumer Empowerment and Demanding Change:
Empowering consumers to research product ingredients and supporting initiatives promoting transparency and responsible manufacturing practices is key. By raising our voices and pressuring regulatory bodies and companies, we can create a demand for greater accountability and prioritize our health and well-being.
Understanding the importance of ingredient transparency in personal care and beauty products is essential. By advocating for change, supporting initiatives, and demanding regulation, we can create a safer and more sustainable industry. Let us unite to ensure transparency, informed choices, and a future where our well-being takes precedence over profit. Start by researching ingredients, looking for certifications, and demanding change today.