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French Consumer Group Warns Of Potential Harmful Substances In Popular Beauty Products

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Certain shampoos, creams, aftershaves and even toothpastes from known brands such as Procter & Gamble and L'Oreal may contain a host of potentially dangerous substances, a new study has warned.

French consumer protection group UFC-Que Choisir published on Monday a list containing 185 legal and approved products that are believed to contain substances that could lead to allergies, irritation or endocrine disruptors in their users.

Olivier Andrault, running the study for the French group, said that they are keen on putting pressure on makers and manufacturers — amid the perceived lack of "suitable European regulation" — through the purchasing behavior of consumers.

The study identified products such as baby wipes, lotion, and diapers as containing phenoxyethanol, which is potentially toxic for the liver and blood. The brands include Bebe Cadum and Mixa of L'Oreal, Pampers of P&G, and Nivea of Beiersdorf.

In its response to the findings, the Federation of Cosmetics Makers (FEBEA) argued that beauty and personal care products in France are considered safe and compliant to European regulation, which it even hailed as the most rigorous in the world.

In a statement, L'Oreal emphasized that it is strongly committed to overall product safety with a "very robust" safety evaluation process in place.

"[A]ll our products and our ingredients are rigorously evaluated before they are put on the market, always in full conformity to the regulation in place," part of the statement reads.

Many of the products cited in the study are part of the roster of globally recognized and positioned companies. P&G, for instance, operates worldwide through its beauty, hair and personal care; grooming; health care; fabric care and home care; and baby, feminine and family care segments.

P&G was founded in 1837 and headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, cover these business segments selling anything from cosmetics to men's shaving kits to supplements with its subsidiaries around the world.

Previous research already warned that common preservatives in shampoos, sunscreens, and other common personal care products and cosmetics may increase the risk for breast cancer. These estrogen-mimicking chemicals known as parabens are even deemed riskier at lower levels than previously thought.

Worse, current safety tests likely undermine the pernicious effects of such ingredients.

Photo: Panil Brune | Flickr

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