The past 15 summers, we traveled across the U.S. to educate young people on breast cancer prevention education on Vans Warped Tour. This summer was extra special because we partnered with Breast Cancer Fund and Clean Water Action to create a survey that asks young people, from 14-24, what they think of personal care and cosmetics industry, and about their daily cosmetics routine. How many products do you use daily? Do you have any concerns about the safety of these products and their ingredients? Who is responsible for testing those ingredients?
We took that survey to 41 cities and asked kids to be a part of the Campaign For Safe Cosmetics to change the cosmetics industry for the better. The results were inspiring. Some of them were already aware of the dangers this industry was hiding and some learned right there at our booth. Boys thought it didn’t pertain to them, but then realized that they too used multiple products every day that are controlled by this industry. Some assumed the companies had they’re best interest, and if the label said natural and good for you than that’s what it was.
It was amazing to have the opportunity to show them what to look out for on labels and to explain the concept of “green-washing” in person. Terms like “natural” don’t really have any legal meaning in the cosmetics industry, and many natural elements can even be harmful to humans. Companies can slap “natural” on whatever they want, add a label green and make a false promise that it’s good for our health and environment. That’s why it’s up to us to know our stuff.
The most inspiring part was the genuine interest that these young people had when they starting taking the survey and the questions that came out of it. So when they were finished, we sent them next door to our Non Toxic Revolution program, where they could learn about steps they could take to remove the toxins from their daily lives. The response to Non Toxic Revolution was overwhelming, so many kids were excited to be involved and use the hair dye, sunscreen and safe product guides. They were empowered to take matters into their own hands and inspired us even more to keep giving them what they need to shift the values of the cosmetic industry. Breast Cancer Fund’s intern, Lauren, even wrote a blog about how her eyes were opened to the realities of cosmetics and personal care products.
There is so much power in knowledge and we want to use this information to change the cosmetics industry. Environmental factors play a significant role in the development of breast cancer, as well as other cancers, and we want companies to know that our products should be safe. Our youth survey will be open until the end of summer and we want you to be a part of it.