how David Suzuki broke my heart

At the end of my last postI mentioned that I was going to tackle how David Suzuki broke my heart recently. I've talked about it on twitter, too. You see, I grew up hearing, watching and reading things about and by David Suzuki. He is an intelligent man. I have always respected what he believes, and trusted what he does. Until now.

Recently, David Suzuki, through his work at the David Suzuki Foundation, released a list of 12 chemicals that they call the "Dirty Dozen" and want further regulation on in personal care products in Canada. When I first read this, I was excited to go see what they had to say...someone I respected was about to say something that related to my industry! And then I read their list. And found it to be completely based on pseudo-science, and information that is known to be false in the current scientific community. Parts of the list and the sources provided are also very misleading. You can read their list here.

Now, here's the thing. Out of that list of twelve, there's only two that are potentially used in Dot & Lil products, only one for sure. The one that I definitely do use is fragrance. Do I believe that some people have allergies to fragrance in general, or to certain fragrance materials? Absolutely. Do I believe that the current system of labeling could stand to be improved so that it is slightly more transparent for consumers while still protecting trade secrets? Absolutely. But I do not for one second believe that David Suzuki can follow the listing for "parfum" with information like this: "Some linked to cancer and neurotoxicity. Some harmful to fish and other wildlife." It's not true, completely unproven and only serves to scare consumers. It's not a black and white, good ingredient/ bad ingredient situation. Toxicology and cosmetic chemistry are all about safe usage levels, and interactions. Couldn't he just have started an interesting, intelligent, science-backed conversation with consumers? Or would that not have gotten him quite enough headlines?

So from his list of twelve, I will agree that improvements need to be made to how fragrances are identified on labels, and that it is unacceptable (and illegal, by the way) for products to be lacking an ingredient list. Dot & Lil products, you will note, are always fully labelled with an INCI (International Nomenclature for Cosmetic Ingredients) ingredient listing, as mandated by Health Canada. I also register each product I sell with Health Canada. I beg you, don't let David Suzuki or others like him persuade you that everything in your bathroom is unsafe. There are improvements to be made, but there's no reason for fear. I will also state that I fully agree with avoiding number twelve on the list, Triclosan, at least in it's use as an anti-bacterial in sponges, trash bags, socks, etc. This isn't even really because I don't trust Triclosan's because I think we should get rid of germs with soap and water, and stop over-sanitizing our environments with antibacterial everything. I mean, do you REALLY need antibacterial SOCKS?

It was such a blow. My heart is still broken. I have said repeatedly that I want Dot & Lil to be synonymous with truth in skin care and accurate information about what we put on our bodies. And I put a lot of time, resources and energy towards staying informed and educating consumers. And then David Suzuki publishes one poorly researched article, with inaccurate information, and it's all over the news-media in this country within a day. And this from someone that I not only greatly respected, but also admired as a supporter of truth and fact and science in our lives!

Please follow this link to read a very sensible letter written by Athana Mentzopoulos, Director General of Health Canada, that is followed by a breakdown of why David Suzuki is incorrect and their position on each of the Dirty Dozen. It made me very happy to read this letter and realize that I wasn't the only one who's heart was broken...Ms. Mentzopoulos may not phrase it that way, but she sure does know he's wrong!

So, I wish I didn't have to do this, say that David Suzuki is WRONG. But I do, because I firmly believe that to be true. I have done my research. And he, it appears, has not, or at least has come to some strange and wildly different conclusions if he has. And again, I urge you to read the list following the Health Canada letter here that details why these ingredients are safe.

Oh Mr. Suzuki. I expected so, so much more.

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xoxo, Anne + the Dot & Lil Team