Save the Fish, Harm the Animals?

Label-conscious is not generally a label I’d stick on myself, but in the context of reading the labels of my cleaning products, my shampoo, the lotions and makeup I apply to my skin and lips, well if the label fits then I’ll wear it.

In college, lo so many years ago, my main criteria was to be sure the product wasn’t tested on animals. Animal testing was a huge issue in the early ’90s (pictures of bunny rabbits wearing red lipstick come to mind), but I think I thought that it was no longer a problem. Silly me. A lot of products say right on the bottle that they aren’t tested on animals, and I guess I saw that on enough of my bottles that I stopped looking for it. More recently my focus has turned to checking ingredient lists for parabens so I don’t get breast cancer and making sure that there are no other chemicals in them that could be harmful to me, or in some cases, the fish in the ocean where I swim.

So, imagine my surprise at a comment on my recent blog about finding a sunscreen that doesn’t endanger coral habitat. Apparently the brand I found that was sans parabens and other harmful chemicals is tested on animals! What the heck?

So I did a little investigating and found out from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals that Aveeno is owned by Johnson & Johnson, a company that tests its products on animals. So there you go, proof that if it isn’t one thing it’s another.

Then I checked out the list of companies who do not test on animals. Sure enough, Alba was on there (the brand recommended by the Care2 member who brought this matter to my attention). They have a lovely sounding Organic Lavender Sunscreen SPF 30 that should do. Oh, and the company is based in a city not far from my home, so I am buying local too! But wait, must check list of ingredients: No parabens, cinnamate, benzophenone or camphor derivative. I am safe. Whew!

Now, I saw some things on this list that looked suspiciously like synthetic scents. I remember checking bottles of shampoo at Target for parabens and I was surprised to find that Herbal Essences didn’t have parabens because I know from fellow blogger Green Girl that this brand was a no-no in the non-toxic household she grew up in. Turns out it was the synthetic fragrances that were a problem. Like I said, if it’s not one thing …

Synthetic fragrances do carry their own health risks so I do try to avoid them in excess but a little bit here or there I think is OK for me, especially since I am not particularly sensitive to chemical scents.

Saving the Earth, one thing at a time.

13 comments

Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

K s Goh
KS Goh5 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Robert O.
Robert O.5 years ago

Thanks.

Bon L.
Bon L.5 years ago

Thanks for the info.

Melissah Chadwick
Melissah C.5 years ago

thanks

gail d.
gail dair6 years ago

thanks

Natali M.
Natali m.7 years ago

CALIFORNIA BABY and BADGER BALM are brands not tested on animals using natural ingredients that carry sunscreens. I haven't used them myself, but read many good reviews, maybe worth a try.

Past Member
Past Member 7 years ago

A lot of these products are invented needs. For centuries our ancestors got along fine without any of them. TRY IT! Eliminating most chemical products from your life (almost anything your great-grandmother wouldn't have recognized) is a safe bet. Then you are not buying these plastic bottles, either. You can save yourself and the planet!

Past Member
Past Member 7 years ago

A lot of these products are invented needs. For centuries our ancestors got along fine without any of them. TRY IT! Eliminating most chemical products from your life (almost anything your great-grandmother wouldn't have recognized) is a safe bet. Then you are not buying these plastic bottles, either. You can save yourself and the planet!

Lynne T.
Lynne T.8 years ago

Hello Marg,
If it states 'finished product not tested on animals' it normally means just that and so it is most likely that all the ingredients will have been tested on animals. Therefore, it could be an animal tested product that gave you a reaction. Animals react entirely different to us anyway and so cannot predict how we will react to what is tested on them. Animals are very poor models for humans indeed and it is totally unnecessary, and I believe immoral, to test things on them causing terrible pain, suffering and deaths to millions of animals. Hundreds of companies do not conduct any tests at any stage of developing their products. If anyone would like to avoid animal testing altogether it is vital that you ask of the ingredients are tested on animals either by them or any other facility on their behalf. Labels with 'product not tested on animals' illustrates that many companies do try to mislead us. I use organic and avoid chemicals as they are a source of irritation and can have carcinogenic effects.