Caring Consumer: A Cry for Consumer Conscience

Dedicated to educating consumers everywhere about animal testing
and how you can avoid buying products from companies that do.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Organix - Beauty, Pure and Simple...

...and cruelty free!

I'm always glad to see ads in major nationwide magazines for cruelty-free products that are readily available. I'm a little late to the party on this one I guess - they've won numerous awards over the last few years.

Earth friendly packaging, organic ingredients, and NO ANIMAL TESTING.

Check them out out:

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Researchers Seek Animal Test Alternative

TROY, N.Y. - The lab rat of the future may have no whiskers and no tail — and might not even be a rat at all.

With a European ban looming on animal testing for cosmetics, companies are giving a hard look at high-tech alternatives like the small, rectangular glass chip professor Jonathan Dordick holds up to the light in his lab at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

The chip looks like a standard microscope slide, but it holds hundreds of tiny white dots loaded with human cell cultures and enzymes. It's designed to mimic human reactions to potentially toxic chemical compounds, meaning critters like rats and mice may no longer need to be on the front line of tests for new blockbuster drugs or wrinkle creams.

Dordick and fellow chemical engineering professor Douglas Clark, of the University of California , Berkeley , lead a team of researchers planning to market the chip through their company, Solidus Biosciences, by next year. Hopes are high that the chip and other "in vitro" tests — literally, tests in glass — will provide cheap, efficient alternatives to animal testing.

No one expects the chips to totally replace animals just yet, but their ability to flag toxins could spare animals discomfort or death.

"At the end of the day, you have fewer animals being tested," said Dordick.

Medical advances ranging from polio vaccines to artificial heart valves owe a debt to legions of lab rats, mice, rabbits, dogs monkeys and pigs. Animals — mostly mice — are still routinely used to test the toxicity of chemical compounds.

Animal testing also still has an essential role in making sure new pharmaceutical products are safe and effective for humans, said Taylor Bennett, senior science adviser to the National Association for Biomedical Researchers. Animal studies generally are needed before the federal Food and Drug Administration will approve clinical trials for a drug.

"The technology is not yet there to go from idea to patient application without using animals," Bennett said.

Animal testing can be slow, though, and some researchers question how well an animal's response to a chemical can predict human reactions.

In addition, the public is increasingly queasy about animal testing, especially the idea of inflicting pain for products like new lipsticks or eye shadows. The movement against animal testing has been especially strong across the Atlantic , where the European Union is set to enact its ban on animal testing for cosmetics in March 2009.

Cosmetics companies have greatly reduced animal testing, though they still may use it to test the safety of a new ingredient, said John Bailey, executive vice president of the Personal Care Products Council, an industry group.

Alternatives to animal tests include synthetic skin substitutes and computer simulations. But in vitro products show the most promise because they can are efficient, fast and easy to manipulate, said Dr. Alan Goldberg, director of the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing at Johns Hopkins University.

"There's no question that it's the strategy of the future," Goldberg said.

Bailey agrees that in vitro chips hold the most promise, but said the chips still need to be validated before companies can have more confidence in them. He noted that chips have limitations when it comes to risk assessment, such as determining if particular doses of a substance pose a cancer risk.

The product developed by Dordick and Clark consists of two glass slides. The first, called the MetaChip, has rows of little blots containing human liver enzymes. The other slide, the DataChip, contains an identical array of blots which, depending on the test, could be live human bladder, liver, kidney, heart, skin or lung cell cultures. Sandwiched together, the two chips mimic the human body's reaction to compounds.

If the cells die or stop growing, it's a sign that a toxin was present.

Troy-based Solidus has received about $3 million in federal money, including grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. Dordick said a pharmaceutical company and a cosmetic company are testing the chip and they hope Solidus will have a product on the market by late 2009.

Goldberg notes that the movements toward in vitro and away from animal testing is incremental — even optimistic assessments measure progress in decades. But he still believes there may well be a day when the lab rat becomes a thing of the past.

"At some time in the far future my suspicion is yes," he said, "because we're doing it stepwise by stepwise."

From Yahoo News

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Tom's of Maine Acquired by Colgate


I just found out that Tom's of Maine was acquired by Colgate/Palmolive. According to Peta's website:

"in a written statement, Tom's of Maine founders Tom and Kate Chappell assured customers, "You will continue to be able to rely on our tried and true Natural Care products based on our model of stewardship and sustainability. We will continue to make products without artificial preservatives, sweeteners, or dyes and without animal testing or animal ingredients."


Even Peta encourages purchasing these products that are cruelty free although the parent company still performs animal testing. I can see both the pros and the cons of this way of thinking. But do I want to give ANY of my hard earned dollars to a company that supports animal testing in any way shape or form? I think my beagle would ask me not to do so.

GreenWorks Cleaning Products

The Good News: While doing the week's grocery shopping, I noticed Greenworks Toilet Bowl cleaner on the shelf at our local market. Their bottle states that they "believe that natural cleaning products should:
Work as well as traditional cleaners
Be made from plantand mineral based ingredients
Use biodegradable ingredients
Never be tested on animals"

Pretty exciting right? I thought so. Toilet bowl cleaner was one of the last single-use household cleaners I hadn't managed to find a cruelty-free replacement for.

The Bad News: Well, Greenworks is manufactured by Clorox - which raises some issues for me. I usually try to avoid spending my consumer dollar on any product made a company (or a branch of a parent company) that is not cruelty free 100% of the time. At the same time though I'd like to encourage the development of more animal-friendly products and if they have access to nation-wide distribution, all the better.

So...what to do?

I decided to buy it for the time being. Better a line of cleaners that have not been tested (even though their parent company does), rather than sticking with one that absolutely is. I'll keep looking for a replacement though.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Seventh Generation Products

Seventh Generation's added to my list!

Since I try to focus on cruelty-free products that are more readily available, I hadn't included Seventh Generation because I only rarely saw their products on the shelves here in Las Vegas. Seventh Generation's distribution is getting stronger (heck I've even walked into the local Walmart and seen their products), so I thought I'd include them on my list. Their household cleaning products are environmentally friendly and made with no irritating dyes or fragrances to boot!

Here is their anti-animal testing statement:

"Seventh Generation strongly opposes any and all uses of animal testing and supports all efforts to develop alternatives to animal testing as a core and fundamental part of the our mission and values. Seventh Generation has never in its history conducted any animal tests. When you purchase a product from us, you also have our commitment that never in the future will we conduct any tests on animals.

In 1999, Seventh Generation specifically chose to endorse and sign the Corporate Standard of Compassion for Animals (CSCA), the strongest (and international) standard for cruelty-free products. This standard is put forth by The American Anti-Vivisection Society; American Humane Association; Beauty Without Cruelty, USA; Doris Day Animal League; The Humane Society of the United States; and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Furthermore, Seventh Generation products bear the International Logo to increase consumer awareness of their choice to support products and companies that commit to cruelty-free testing."


Saturday, December 15, 2007

BeFine Food Skin Care

Enjoyed a slow Saturday morning sipping coffee in bed and reading the new issue of InStyle and caught a three-page ad for a skin care line called BeFine. According to the ad their all-natural products are made with vegetarian proteins and were not tested on animals. I'll be keeping an eye out in "retail stores everywhere" to see what the price point is.

If you've had any experiences with these products, please let me know what you think!


Friday, October 12, 2007

One more reason to use Revlon!

Unsafe lead levels have been found in lipstick - the reapplication and ingestion of which happens multiple times a day for regular lipstick wearers. According to a story on Yahoo News:

"One-third of the lipsticks tested contained an amount of lead that exceeded the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's 0.1 ppm limit for lead in candy -- a standard established to protect children from ingesting lead, the group said. Thirty-nine percent of the lipsticks tested had no discernible lead, it said.

The coalition said that some less expensive brands it had tested, such as Revlon, had no detectable levels of lead, while the more expensive Dior Addict brand had higher levels than some other brands."

So YAY Revlon - cruelty AND lead free!

Sunday, April 01, 2007


Just when you think you've got almost everything accounted for - SUMMER-LIKE weather strikes! I work outside about 4-5 hours a day under the Vegas sun, so it's imperative that I wear a good sunscreen during the sunny months. So, when the weather suddenly took a turn to the 80's - I reached for the sunscreen I had on hand...BANANA BOAT? Uh oh.

There weren't any testing-free sunscreens at the local chains, so we visited our trusty Trader Joe's. Sure enough, they carry a house brand of suncreen with 30 SPF - but only in 4 oz. bottles, and it's a little pricey. It seems to work OK - I still managed to get some color but I didn't burn. I find that I need to reapply more often than with other brands.

Not perfect, but great in a pinch!

More product reviews - Deoderant

Deoderant was a tough one. Not too much choice in the aisles of the bigger chain stores. I ended up switching out from Secret - which I'd used for decades - to Tom's of Maine Natural unscented. I have to admit I was a little skeptical after reading the ingredient list (lichen? coriander?), but I have to say this stuff works great. It has a little bit of a scent - but I find it pleasantly crisp and citrusy. My husband tried the Trader Joe's Cotton Deoderant - but didn't have too much success with it to be honest. He's giving the Tom's a try.

All in all - it's taking a little trial and error - but we're successfully achieving our goal of a cruelty free household in a short amount of time!

Some product reviews - Cosmetics

On the cosmetics front, I switched from Suave body lotion to Trader Joe's brand (which was great) and then to the more readily accessible (at most supermarkets and Walmart) St. Ives Collagen Elastin moisturizer (I use this body wash too). Oddly enough, the moisturizer made me have a reaction, so I switched to their Intensive Healing lotion which is hypo-allergenic. All is well since the switch.

Next up: Bubble bath.