Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Ava Anderson Story and Non-Toxic Cosmetics

Ava Anderson Web site


I was a typical teenager in 2008 when, at the age of 14, I saw a report with my mom on a study about hazardous chemicals in the bloodstream of teens commonly found in cosmetics and skin care products. The study was performed by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), See study at right. We were both shocked, and I immediately went to my room to begin what would turn into months of research. The more I learned, the more alarmed I became. I started searching for safe products for my family, my friends and myself. After hundreds of hours of research it was apparent that although the market was flooded with “organic”, “natural”, “safe” and “pure”, there were almost always toxic ingredients and chemicals in there, as well, not to mention the ones hidden in the ingredient “fragrance.” I managed to find some “ok stuff” but nothing that was truly non-toxic. Among other resources, I, created by EWG, to guide my search to find products that had only “0’” hazard scores, on a scale of 0-10. Even the products with 1’s, 2’s and 3’s, had concerning health implications. By this time I had thrown away numerous unsafe products, as well as those of my mother and both grandmothers, but was unable to provide anyone with replacements. Everyone was a bit unhappy with me, to say the least. I was also very frustrated with the reality that trying to make good choices had become a full time job, with no results. Every time I shared the toxic message with someone, they always had the same question, “well, what CAN I use?” I had no good answer.

I had become really angry at how consumers were unaware of the risks of personal care products, and that even those who thought they were making safe choices were unaware of the true nature of the ingredients in their products. I can’t tell you how many times people would say to me, “Well, I am all set, because I buy “X natural” brand from the health food store.” People really think they are safe from dangerous chemicals, and they are not. After eight months of this, I realized that the only solution would be to create my own products. Through a family friend we found a manufacturer with research facilities that could develop and produce products to my standards. It was a great challenge to develop these revolutionary formulas and I had to reject many proposed formulations. Finally, after much hard work by a lot of people, the first full line of skin care and cosmetics in which every ingredient in every product rates "zero" on the Cosmetics Database, is here. I want to thank my parents who never said “no.” I am very lucky that they were able and willing to help me do this.

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