I was talking to my friend and our conversation went from talking about how many people there are in the world, to the need to grow food differently and the pluses and minuses of genetically modified foods, to Monsanto screwing over farmers, to companies knowingly selling bad products to their customers. After we parted ways at the end of the evening our chat stayed with me. I got fired up all over again thinking about companies that sell crap for profit, sometimes selling us things that with time make us dependent on them. Think of Head & Shoulders, for example. You can use the product but the moment you stop, the dandruff returns.
Let me start with Monsanto. If you don’t know what Monsanto is or does – it is the world’s largest producer of genetically engineered seeds for crops such as soy, wheat, and corn. It also produces pesticides such as Roundup. With continuous use, Roundup accumulates in the soil and basically makes it infertile, which in turn pushes the farmers to buy genetically modified seeds from Monsanto that are resistant to the Roundup toxins. What’s more, exposure to Roundup is documented to have caused cancer, skin disorders, and damage to gastrointestinal and nervous systems, among other side effects. This is the kind of evil that takes the crown in my books.
Then there is Volkswagen. In case you don’t read or watch the news and have no idea about the biggest automotive scandal of 2015 – Volkswagen sold their cars while intentionally manipulating carbon emission test results. Those who bought Volkswagen didn’t realize that their car poisoned the atmosphere up to over ten times worse than they were told. All the while VW ran a huge marketing campaign trumpeting how low emission their products were. Once they got busted, VW issued an apology and was promptly sued by thousands of customers demanding compensation. The U.S. legal system, the customers that were deceived, and the whistle blowing researchers all won resulting in VW paying out literally billions of dollars to settle the lawsuits.
Something a little closer to my heart that made waves back in 2010 was the GlaxoSmithKline scandal. The British drug giant paid $750 million in criminal and civil law suit settlements for knowingly selling contaminated baby ointments and a series of ineffective and contaminated drugs, including antidepressants, heart medicine and a diabetes drug. The company’s quality manager was fired when she brought up the question of the products’ quality to the board in a quintessential example of bold corporate dishonesty. That manager sued and won her case against GlaxoSmithKline also resulting in the closure of a contaminated factory in Puerto Rico where the products were manufactured.
So, Volkswagen and GlaxoSmithKline paid, at least in part, but these are likely the rare examples when Corporate disdain for the public good was exposed and put to trial. The truth is that most companies never get brought to justice for their crooked operations, much less caught.
It is common knowledge that the beauty industry is rife with suspicious products and companies. Cosmetics are by and large a treacherous zone – whatever a company claims is the next amazing, new thing that will turn your skin / hair / nails from ordinary to extraordinary is all too frequently lacking in any science or reality. The popular media happily picks up trends and gimmicks and promotes them while we consumers are often guilty of buying something just because of the pretty packaging without ever reading the ingredients. Snail facials for $150 a pop? Caviar shampoos for $60 a bottle? Bee venom injections to erase those pesky fine lines? Keep them coming! It’s almost too easy for these companies to make money selling snake oil beauty products.
One brand in particular earns a special mention and I have to admit, before I started delving into researching cosmetic company scams, triggered by when I discovered that Jeunesse Global has products that are proven to harm your face, I had no idea this even took place. This article on Huffington Post blew my mind, and that’s why I’m sharing it with you.
The author of the article, Samuel S. Epstein, MD, is the chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition based in Chicago, Illinois. Samuel writes that the brand Perricone MD developed a patented technology, labelled Fullerene, which are microscopic hollow spheres, nanoparticles, that carry active ingredients of a skincare product into the skin. Sounds impressive? It does. That is until you find out that those nanoparticles invade underlying blood vessels and produce toxic effects, including brain degenerative disorders and nerve damage. It is just simply crazy. Even crazier is that cosmetic companies are allowed to use this kind of technology despite the fact that it hasn’t been extensively tested. And worse, the delivery method has been compared to asbestos in the way that the human body reacts to it, to these nanoparticles. Yet you can easily buy Perricone MD range from sites such as Sephora, priced $20-$495, all the while not knowing that a 2010 Skin Deep report by the Environmental Working Group found at least seven of Perricone’s products to contain nanoparticles, while a total of 25 contained a wide range of other toxic ingredients, including carcinogens such as acrylamide, and carcinogenic contaminants such as ethylene oxide, dioxane, nitrosamines and acrylamide, and formaldehyde. Environmental Working Group rated 25 of Perricone’s products as “moderate to high hazards.” It’s completely unbelievable to me that Perricone MD products are being sold while the company is fully aware how harmful they can be.
Yet again, it pays to do your research. But even when you do, nothing is guaranteed, and it is hard to know if you’ll be able to find the truth so be careful what you put on your face! The worst offenders have enough money enough to cover up the bad press their products earn, while it is often hard to pick out the best especially because the bad guys are so good at what they do.