Activists for non-toxic cosmetics – Organizations, Foundations, Sites



Here are a number of organizations, foundations, individual initiatives and Websites that work for a better regulation of cosmetics, for a reassessment of permitted substances in the manufacture of the products, for more security and less chemistry and more transparency in the posting of the ingredients on the labels.

The David Suzuki Foundation

As I mentioned above, the David Suzuki Foundation published a report in October 2010 giving an overview of the toxic chemical products contained in the cosmetics which we use on a daily basis. The rather disconcerting findings of this report are mainly due to the fact that several chemical compounds which one finds in our beauty products are not only detrimental to our health, but also for our environment . The Foundation has thus called for a better regulation of the ingredients contained in cosmetics and the labeling of these ingredients. For more relevant information concerning our cause, go on their Website .

Environmental Working Group

EWG or SKIN DEEP is a data bank belonging to Environmental Working Group, a non-governmental and non-lucrative American organization founded in 1993 which aims to use the power of public information to protect public health (in particular the health of children), to protect the environment and to put pressure on the Government to bring changes to federal environmental policy and natural resources. Skin Deep is the most exhaustive data bank concerning cosmetics and concerning the scientific studies done until now on the ingredients and the components of cosmetics. The danger of the thousands of products is rated on a scale from 0 to 10. There is however a disadvantage for the Canadian consumer: although countless European brands are there, the great majority of the products rated on Skin Deep are manufactured in the United States. Only a very small part of the products on sale on the Quebec market are rated on this site. This tool remains however the REFERENCE (and is used by researchers, scientists and biochemists) when you seek precise information on the toxicity of an ingredient in particular. Millions of consumers are turning to Skin Deep to make more secure choices.

On this site, you will find a multitude of most recent articles, (ALL based on scientific research) concerning the toxicity of cosmetics.

More information on this site in the chapter “ Skin Deep and other tools… ”.

To counteract this initiative and to rehabilitate their image with the consumers, the industry of conventional cosmetics has created its own Website of “self-defense” in which their representatives reproach EWG for denouncing the dangerous character of certain ingredients on humans starting from a high number of scientific studies having been done on mice. But, my goodness, why do these gentlemen of the cosmetics industry not go voluntary so that one tests on them the harmlessness of these ingredients so that one, once and for all, has experiments done on humans whose results could not be disputed anymore!?!


The Cosmetox guide from Greenpeace

At the present time, more than 100.000 industrial chemical substances are freely circulating on the European market. Their global production has passed from 1 million tons in 1939 to more than 400 million tons today. A significant part of these substances is integrated in the products for current human consumption at the time of their manufacture, to confer functional properties to them (resistance to bacterial attacks, colour, odor or other chemical and mechanical properties considered to be interesting by the manufacturer). Thus, the electric components, the textiles, the up-keeping and cleaning products, but also cosmetics and  perfumes, contain, in addition to their majority ingredients, themselves often, resulting from industrial chemistry, many chemical additives of synthesis in sometimes negligible quantities.

The purpose of the Cosmetox guide is:

◦ to inform consumers on the presence of dangerous substances for their health and the environment in the products which they use daily;

◦ to massively challenge the manufacturers of these products, (companies of beauty care       and perfumery) on the question of the use of these toxic substances in the context of European chemical reform REACH (Recording, Evaluation, Authorization of the Chemical   Substances).

The guide draws up the list of the principal brands of beauty care and perfumery present on the French market. It classifies them in “green”, “orange” or “red”, according to the answers which these manufacturers provided to Greenpeace on the chemical contents of the products that they market. Downloadable in pdf on the Internet. In spite of all of its merits, this Guide has a major disadvantage however: for the safety of the consumer one must judge the harmlessness of the product and not of the brand as a whole.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

The campaign for safe cosmetics is an educational Website, animated and with a good narrative. Here are some interesting facts:

◦ one denounces the contents of the box distributed to women affected by breast cancer by the Canadian Cancer Society within the framework of the program Look good, feel better /Belle et bien dans sa peau [1] . If the initiative is really laudable, I profited myself from it before my awakening, the content must be re-examined, because the distributed products contain precisely toxic substances and carcinogens which are contra-indicative, not only for people in good health, but even more so for those whose immune system is defective;

◦ contrary to other sources of information on the dangerous nature of the ingredients who limit themselves to just report on the conclusions of the scientific work, The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics makes direct links, on each page, with the very studies which made it possible to draw the conclusions; at the Fragrance page, for example, about ten studies are presented, which is enough to convince even the most skeptical.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is a coalition of women, interveners from the public-health sector, environmental health and organizations for the rights of consumers.

More than 150 organizations have approved the platform of The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics .


(Registration Evaluation and Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (Enregistrement, Évaluation, Autorisation et Restriction des produits Chimiques).

This regulation of the EEC voted on November 17, 2005 by the European Parliament and adopted in second reading on December 13, 2006 aims at modifying the legislation on the  sanitary safety of chemicals in the European Community.

Of the 100.000 substances resulting from the petrochemical industry only 3000, those marketed since 1981, have really been evaluated in terms of their dangerous nature for human health or for the environment . The goal of REACH is to mitigate this lack.

This regulation is of great importance because it proposes a harmonized regulation at the European level and makes the industries responsible who must now prove the harmlessness of their products before their marketing.

The REACH regulation proposes four priority axes in order to ensure the protection of the population and the environment: the replacement of dangerous chemical substances by safer substitutes, the supply at registration of sufficient information on the long-term effects to allow the identification of the dangerous chemical substances, the obligation of prudence of the chemical industries which must be held legally responsible for the safety of their products, and the transparency to guarantee the right of the consumers to know all the substances present in the products for human consumption.

Environmental Defence

Environmental Defence is a Canadian environmental organization which launches a challenge and inspires change on the part of the Government and the companies while connecting people to the environmental problems which affect their everyday life in their house, at work and in their vicinity.

At this moment Environmental Defence conducts the campaign Just Beautiful which is described as follows on their website:

“Every day, Canadians put toxic substances on their skin by using cosmetics and other products of personal care . Thousands of substances: allergens, carcinogens and hormonal disturbers have been prohibited or were restricted in the products of European personal care. Some of these same harmful substances can still be found in the Canadian products. Moreover, Canadians are not informed on all that is present in the products of personal care that we use every day, and Health Canada does not have the capacity to test them or to recall them for reasons of safety.

We test the cosmetics of Canadians to see what they really contain.  We ask the Federal Government to prohibit these dangerous substances and to ensure us that we know all the ingredients present in our cosmetics so that we can all be beautiful-simply”.

Here is the latest report: How the Cosmetics Industry Ranks on Toxic Chimicals? (2013)

The Quebec Network of Action for Women’s Health (RQASF)

Founded in 1997, the Quebec Network of Action for Women’s Health (RQASF) is a provincial multidisciplinary nonprofit organisation whose mission is to work jointly to improve the physical and mental health of women and their living conditions.

The RQASF is a reference source of information which documents and analyzes from a global, critical and feminist appoach various issues of women’s health, like body image, menopause, medications and aesthetics including the toxicity of certain consumption products as cosmetics.

Jean-Yves Dionne

Pharmacist, but also a speaker, trainer, researcher, archivist, writer and adviser, Jean-Yves Dionne is a leading figure in the field of holistic health in Quebec. Committed to unveil the responsibility of the chemical industry in the epidemic of chronic diseases, J.-Y. Dionne regularly publishes articles on the toxicity of cosmetics.

Breast Cancer Action  Montréal

Breast Cancer Action Montreal  (BCAM) is a not-for-profit group managed by women who have been made aware of the traumas caused by breast cancer and who are committed, in the long-term, to the eradication of this disease. This organization runs since many years an information campaign on the subject of the dangers of cosmetic products . BCAM offers workshops of vulgarization on cosmetics without danger.

Femme toxic

Femmes toxic is a project of ACSM in partnership with the Filles d’action Foundation which was founded in 2009 and which militates for a stricter regulation of cosmetics. More precisely, the group wishes to change the way in which Health Canada classifies the cosmetics and supervises the replacement and the elimination of toxins in the personal care products . Femme Toxic seeks to give power to women and make them more conscious of toxins contained in the products that they use, of their impact on health and the healthier alternatives. Moreover, one encourages women who join them to mobilize themselves in order to motivate cosmetics industries to start their long-expected change of course.

Sabotage hormonal et le Réseau des femmes en environnement

Sabotage hormonal is a Montreal Website under the control of Lise Parent and the Réseau des femmes en environnement ( Network of women in the environment ).

The booklet Hormonal Sabotage, elaborated in 2009 and showing how products of everyday usage harm our health, is available for free on their Website in pdf format. Although it is not very elaborate, one also finds a chapter there on the dangerous character of cosmetics.

Hormonal disruptors are harmful substances which are found in the organism where they can cause health problems by putting the hormones out of order. Suspected of being at the origin of infertility and malformations, but also of cancers, allergies, musculo-skeletal and cardiovascular problems, the hormonal disturbers cause great concern in scientists.

The Réseau des femmes en environnement/Network of women in the environment offers a 3- hour training session on the hormonal disturbers present in products of everyday use. For more information communicate with the Network of women in the environment at

EHAQ - Environmental Health Association of Quebec has the role of protecting human health and the environment on the individual and collective level, by awareness, support and by activities of training of the population, about toxic products and pesticides.

Green Leaf Consulting

Green Leaf is a consultation project, created by Montreal native Philippa Settels.

“Living a healthy, green lifestyle has been a passion of mine for over two decades. Then, my own personal health was severely compromised several years ago, putting my life and my family’s well-being at risk. I launched my “Going Green” project because I want to keep my family healthy, happy and contribute to our lives, our community and our fragile world in a positive way. By offering private consultations, group workshops and corporate “Lunch & Learn” presentations, I look forward to sharing resources for information and the steps you can easily take to improve your own health and environment, for a better life.”


CORNELIA DUM is a Montreal not-for-profit and non-subsidized Website dedicated to  women affected by breast cancer and committed to reveal the possible environmental causes related to cancer, in particular the products of hygiene, beauty products and conventional cosmetics. More than 500 products available in pharmacies and in shops of natural products scanned by the magnifying glass are proposed to the consumers in  The Guide of non-toxic hygiene, beauty products and non-toxic cosmetics.  The first criterion of selection of the products is their harmlessness (innocuité).


“When” is an American not-for-profit organization which has a Canadian branch.

Since its creation in 1994, the purpose of Women’s Healthy Environments Network is to educate the general public, the media, the politicians and the decision makers on environmental health as a determining factor of public health.

Information is disseminated thanks to workshops, courses, public meetings, conferences, round-tables, and posters, in various places such as the communities, the schools, the universities and the work place.

Plenty of information on cosmetics and their toxicity is available on their Website.


The association Women in Europe for a common future (WECF) has organized, on September 8, 2008 at the European Parliament in Brussels, a colloquium on the risks that chemicals contained in pesticides, toys and cosmetic products represent for the brain and the reproductive organs of children. Read the report (in English) on the Website of the WECF.

Women in Europe for a common future and Environment Health Network (RES), which was created in 2009 to put the issues linking the environment and our health at the heart of political debate, organized in April 2012 a French and foreign specialists round-table of a major emergency about endocrine disruptors and the very harmful effects known to date of the impact of these substances on pregnancy and fertility.


The content of this Website (in French) was written by Malissa Phitthayaphone.

Daughter of a mother-dietician and aware of alternative and natural medicine, Malissa was quickly attracted by this medium.

She discovered there in particular the universe of natural cosmetics which was for her an awakening, changing true revolt against big business which, blinded by its thirst for profit, does not hesitate to endanger the health of its customers.

On this site, you will find a good summary of cosmetic products and their misdeeds and an exhaustive list of harmful products .


Guide to Less Toxic Products of Environmental Health Association of Nova Scotia

The objective of this site is to:

◦ furnish information on the potential health risks of the products usually used.

◦ help to identify less toxic alternatives for the products of personal care , cleaning, household, products for the baby, and of pest-destroying products.

◦ furnish information to help you choose products not evaluated in this guide in order to choose the most certain ones for your needs.

“Chemicals have replaced the viruses and the bacteria and have become the principal threat to health. Diseases which one starts to see as the principal causes of death in the last part of the twentieth century and in the 21st century are diseases which have a chemical origin. ”  [3]

More information on this site in the chapter “ Skin Deep and other tools…


Marketplace , a website for consumer protection. Several articles on wrongful “green” labeling on the products of personal care, the dangerous ingredients , interviews with certain companies of the cosmetics industry about the ingredients.


Adria Vasil is the bestselling author of  Ecoholic,   Ecoholic Home  and  Ecoholic Body . She’s been writing the practical and humour- filled weekly ECOHOLIC advice column for Toronto’s NOW Magazine since the spring of 2004, answering reader questions about everything from greening your food choices, finances and footwear to detoxifing your home, school, office, you name it. She has also covered broader environmental news issues for over a decade. To read the latest and to catch up on some of her backlog visit her  column online at NOW magazine .

More than just a simple gate of information, wants to be an essential and useful relay of communication between the citizens and the partners of sustainable development in France and in the world. It also gathers in a directory some 5000 eco-actors in France!

It addresses itself to the general public as well as to professionals and makes it possible to have daily information and a clear vision on the stakes of sustainable development. The articles always aim at keeping a critical eye which even denounces beforehand checked facts.

Several European associations led by the Swedish NGO ChemSec, whose French organizations RES (Réseau Environnement Santé) and Générations futures / Network Environment Health and future Generations, have just published an updated version of the SIN list (immediate substitution necessary). 22 chemical ingredients present in products for human consumption but dangerous for the environment and health were added there including 12 present in products of personal care .

Le Guide du Bien être (The Guide of Well-Being)

Le Guide du bien être 

The Guide of Well-Being (section Body Care) shares several resources, references and reports on the toxicity of industrial cosmetics and offers several recipes of body care products. (French Website)

[1] ↑  Read more on this subject in the chapter  Hand Lotions

[2] ↑  Although REACH rather represents the lawful framing of the European Union as regards chemicals it is listed here because it has the merit to ask the industry to prove the harmlessness of the products before being put on sale contrary to the United States where the manufacturers are not held to prove that an ingredient is not dangerous before the marketing of the products; Canada chose the middle way, laudable but largely insufficient, with the 500 chemicals indexed on the Critical List. Even the Canadian Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CCTFA) recognizes that a revision of the Food and Drugs Act and the Cosmetic Regulations shows a long delay.

[3] ↑ Dr Dick Irwin, toxicologist, Texas A & M University

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