Toxic Valentine?

Feature story - February 10, 2005
When you buy a gift for a loved one you don't expect that it might come with a dose of harmful chemicals. But if you are buying certain perfumes this Valentine's day that's exactly what you'll get.

Love is.......ensuring you're not contaminated! Take action for strong European chemical laws.

We tested 36 well know brands of perfumes for two potentially hazardous man-made chemical groups: phthalate esters and synthetic musks. Both these types of chemicals can enter the body and may cause unwanted health impacts. They are also harmful when released into the environment. Virtually all the perfumes tested contained these chemicals with high levels being found in brands like Calvin Klein's 'Eternity for Women,' The Body Shop's 'White Musk' and Jean Paul Gaultier's 'Le Mâle.'

Other brands contained low levels of these harmful chemicals. Puma's 'Jamaica Man' had one of the lowest levels of the musks tested and Gloria Vanderbilt's 'Vanderbilt' contained no detectable phthalates. The different levels of chemicals shows there is room for discussing the phase-out of these chemicals with perfume manufactures.

Chemicals out of control

Perfumes are the latest consumer products tested by Greenpeace to expose how common the use of toxic chemicals is in everyday products. We are using the results to show how current laws on chemicals are inadequate. A new chemical law being discussed in Europe is vital to set a worldwide precedent on the strong effective control of chemicals.

While better chemical control should be welcomed by all, it is under attack from predictable quarters. The chemical industry has been scare -mongering with exaggerated claims of job losses and declining profits. It has also recruited dirty industry's best friend, the Bush Administration, to threaten Europe with a World Trade Organisation lawsuit if it dares to try and cut toxic pollution.

We are countering the negative industry lobbying by pressuring companies to demonstrate that they can do without toxic chemicals in products. The list of companies setting a good example by substituting hazardous chemicals for safer alternatives is growing - Ikea, H&M, Marks & Spencer, Nokia, Samsung and Puma are leading the way. Adidas, Unilever and Sony are heading in the right direction.

Consumer power is vital in changing these companies and you can check our products database to help you avoid toxic chemicals in your shopping basket. Right now we are focusing on the electronics sector so why not take the toxic tech test!

Get involved:

Click to send the ecard

Send a valentines card with a difference to spread the word and get people taking action.

You can add your voice for strong European chemical law to counter industry lobbying. (Also in Ceski | Deutsch | Español | Français | Italiano | Magar | Nederlands | Polski)

Check the online product database to see which companies and brands are toxics free and who are not:

English | French | Spanish | Dutch | Italian (pdf file)

Get Informed

Read the press release for a summary of the chemicals tested and amounts found or the full report for the complete picture. Full testing details from the lab report.

Backround on the Chemical Crisis and our campaign for a toxic free future.

Intro to the upcoming EU chemical law (REACH).

BushGreenwatch: Administration Steps Up Pressure on EU to Weaken Proposed Chemical Laws.

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