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October 10, 2008
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Tell Estée Lauder that All its Brands Should Live Up to Pink Ribbon Claims
Take Action!

The cosmetic giant Estée Lauder owns Origins, Aveda and MAC, among many other popular brands. Interestingly though, Estée Lauder brands each have different standards when it comes to protecting consumers’ health, including different ideas about using chemicals linked to cancer and other diseases in products.

We know that chemicals used in cosmetics are in our bodies: Environmental Working Group, a founding member of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, recently tested 20 teen girls for the presence of cosmetics chemicals in their bodies. Among the findings: two kinds of parabens (cosmetics chemicals that disrupt hormone function), were found in every girl tested. And while safe products are important for all of us, teens' bodies are still developing, so exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals now can put them at increased risk for health problems like breast cancer later in life.

We searched Skin Deep for Estée Lauder brands popular with young women and turned up some unhealthy results:

The number of studies linking cosmetics chemicals to reproductive health problems and cancer has been increasing for years, but many large cosmetics companies have been slow (or downright obstinate) about reformulating their products, claiming that small amounts of these chemicals are just fine. Estée Lauder even lobbied against legislation in California that requires cosmetics companies to notify the state when they use chemicals linked to cancer and birth defects - while simultaneously launching Pink Ribbon campaigns to “raise awareness” about breast cancer.

We'd like to raise another kind of awareness: small, repeated exposures to these chemicals can affect our health, and they shouldn't be in our cosmetics.

Aveda and Origins are Estée’s “greener” brands, and Origins recently made an important public commitment to make safer products: “In response to consumer desires, Origins initiated a voluntary reformulation program to free our formulas of Parabens, Propylene Glycol and DEA.….Furthermore we use no synthetic fragrances (which are often made from petroleum or its by-products) or synthetic colors in our Skin and Body care products.” Aveda has a similar policy.

If non-toxic cosmetics are what customers want, and if Aveda and Origins can deliver, why can't the rest of Estée Lauder’s brands?

This October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, ask Estée "Pink Ribbon" Lauder to extend the Aveda and Origins pledges to all of its brands, from MAC to Clinique to Bumble and Bumble. This company can make cosmetics free of known and suspected toxins, and in the absence of laws that protect us, we have to demand that protection ourselves.

Write a letter to Estée Lauder »

Mia Davis
National Grassroots Coordinator, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics
Clean Water Fund
262 Washington Street #301
Boston, MA 02108
office: 617.338.8131
 ext 201
fax: 617.338.6449
My favorite company product without harmful chemicals


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