What is the social/environmental problem/issue that this project will address?
Synthetic chemicals in cosmetics are transferred through the skin to the blood stream, but not many people know that. Women have 40% more chemical residues in their bodies than men. Is it because they use more cosmetic products? With powerful companies monopolising the cosmetic industry, it’s difficult to unravel what’s really going on. Our mission is to raise awareness and understanding of the potential risk amongst consumers so they feel they can ask for clarity in cosmetic regulation. We would like to see a shift in attitudes that is similar to campaigns against fur trade or laboratory testing on animals. We would like to see the major players in the industry revising the ingredients that they are using, by making healthier choices for the consumers.
Can you give us some statistics on this problem?
Research shows that women put daily approx 515 chemicals on their bodies.
Over 5,000 chemicals have entered daily use since WWII, many of them found in the products we use every day to clean and beautify our bodies and our homes. Skin allergies are often triggered by the use of harsh chemicals on the skin, and as many as 6 million people, or 1 in 5 children and 1 in 10 adults, suffer from allergies in the UK.
Research of University of Reading of 20 different human breast tumours shows traces of parabens in every sample demonstrating that between 20 and 60% of parabens may be absorbed into the body.
According to research by Cancer Research UK, lifestyle changes could prevent 40% of cancers.
What is your solution?
To actively campaign for the following actions within the cosmetic industry:
1. Clear definitions of “natural cosmetics” and “organic cosmetics” and agreed compliance criteria across the industry.
2. Clear labelling with transparency of ingredients, including true percentages of organic certified ingredients.
3. Use of the word “organic” be only permitted with legitimate certification.
4. That women be made aware of current scientific research on synthetic ingredients in mainstream cosmetics and their potential damaging effects on health
How will you deliver this?
We are planning to educate and build advocacy among women in key positions in government, women’s organisations and the media to campaign for transparent regulation in the cosmetic industry. We aim to increase public recognition and widespread understanding of the issue, to create desire and momentum for change. By raising the issue of dangerous toxic chemicals to women and campaigning for a safer cosmetic world, we expect to appeal to women’s hearts and minds. In doing this, we will create a new business model - that of a socially aware campaigning brand that is still premium and indulgent. We will have succeeded when women are choosing Gaiavita because it makes them feel good on every level, feeling beautiful and feeling healthy.