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What is Greenwashing?

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The majority of new personal care products claim to be natural. Consumers confusion continues as which products are actually natural and organic.

Greenwashing is the practice of making an unsubstantiated or misleading claim about the environmental benefits of a product, service, technology or company practice. Greenwashing can make a company appear to be more environmentally friendly than it really is.

There are many companies that advertise and label their products as natural, safe, green, good for the environment and formulated with a certain amount of natural or organic ingredients. Many of these companies are pretending, using outright false or contradictory claims.

Companies greenwash to demonstrate to current and potential customers that they are ecologically and environmentally correct. There are numerous offenders, so how can the average citizen tell the difference between companies that are genuinely committed to a green initiative.

Sunscreens with chemical active ingredients were developed for their ease of use and inexpensive ingredients. These products typically include a combination of two to six of the following active ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate. Many of these sunscreens are ineffective and studies have shown skin penetration, hormone disruption, skin allergies, cell damage and other concerns. 

Sunscreens that contain mineral filters blended with chemical filters are not natural. By labeling the product natural, this is an example of greenwashing. “Many mainstream brands are now adding mineral sunscreen ingredients, rather than reformulating to safe products, they may still contain harmful chemicals, including not only synthetic emollients, preservatives, and fragrance, and chemical sunscreen ingredients too.” Organic Authority, June 2016

Inactive ingredients are used to disperse the active ingredients, also referred to as the carrier mechanism. As well, many chemical inactive ingredients are used in formulating sunscreens.

In August 2005, scientists from the University of Rochester reported that prenatal exposure to phthalates which are chemicals found in personal care products and other consumer products that could cause the reproductive organs of male infants to develop abnormally (Swan 2005).

Some suppliers refer to dimethicones as "naturally derived from sand". Sand is no doubt the starting material for making all these silicone derivatives and what could be more "natural" than sand? But sand/quartz is the end of "natural" for silicone. The rest is attaching petrochemical based functional ingredients to the siloxane backbone to create all these -cones we can find on the label of almost every single mainstream personal care product. There are even silicone derivatives where they attach the dimethicone to a "natural" ingredient such as beeswax or plant oils. 

Apart from the fact that there are petrochemicals involved in manufacturing dimethicones, even if they are attached to plant oils, they are bioaccumulative and build-up in the environment. Even though the pro-silicone front is persistently claiming silicones do not bioaccumulate and would biodegrade after how many million years?

When you apply sunscreen, the UV filters form a thin, protective barrier on the surface of your skin. Sunscreens should contain some combination of active ingredients for UVA and UVB protection and inactive ingredients that the active ingredients are immersed in.

Mineral sunscreens that include only zinc oxide, titanium dioxide or zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are natural mineral UV filters. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide do not penetrate and are not absorbed through the skin and are generally recognized as safe and effective for use in sunscreens.

So how can you be sure that your purchasing a natural product? Third-party certification means that an independent organization has reviewed the manufacturing process of a product and has independently determined that the final product complies with specific standards for safety, quality or performance.

ECOCERT was the very first certification body to develop standards for "natural and organic cosmetics".

COSMOS was created in 2010 by the founders/members BDIH, Cosmebio, Ecocert Greenlife, ICEA and Soil Association to protect and promote organic and natural cosmetics and to launch a global harmonized standard for the benefit of both manufacturers and consumers.

On December 31st 2016, the organic and natural cosmetics world changed, the five founders/members of COSMOS ceased to certify new products according to their own (private) standards and conduct all new certifications to the COSMOS-standard. Thus, on January 1st 2017, the Cosmos-standard went live.

The five founding COSMOS members together represent the vast majority of the world’s certified organic and natural cosmetics companies, that’s over 2000 brands in more than 50 countries producing over 45,000 cosmetic products and ingredients.

Love Sun Body 100% Natural Origin Mineral Sunscreens are the first and only sunscreens in the U.S. certified by Ecocert Cosmos Natural and have been clinically tested hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic and are reef safe. Love Sun Body 100% Natural Origin Mineral Sunscreens meet the regulatory requirements of the FDA OTC Monograph System and the European Commission’s recommendation on UVA protection. Love Sun Body 100% Natural Origin Mineral Sunscreens are made with the safest UVA and UVB filters - SPF 30 formulas non-nano zinc oxide and SPF 50 formulas non-nano zinc oxide and titanium dioxide and plant based moisturizers.

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