Product Regulation

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2014 National Women's Conference
18 October 2013

Lulled by the soft sell and the hidden persuader, the average woman is seldom aware of the deadly materials with which she is surrounding herself, indeed she may not realise she is using them at all. This is a quote by Rachel Carson in 1962 and this still applies today, some 50 years later.

Women are often told to protect their skin by not exposing themselves to harmful rays from the sun but where are the warnings about the harmful chemicals/ingredients included in some of the very products we are advised to use for our protection?

We are encouraged to use anti-bacterial products to ensure the highest level of hygiene and cleanliness yet they encourage the growth and development of superbugs such as MRSA which has been evidenced to have devastating effects, such as contributing to a rise in the death rate.

Just 10% of the 10,000 chemical substances used on the European market have been tested for health effects? Some of the ingredients used in perfumes, cosmetics and personal care products include cow’s brains, placenta, spleens and spinal cords? In addition to this, some also contain anti-freeze and a toxic cocktail of chemicals, such as parabens. Parabens mimic oestrogen and during testing on fish, changed the gender of male fish to female following exposure. This is increasingly worrying for women when you consider a heightened risk of breast cancer has been linked to lifetime increased exposure to oestrogen.

Conference recognises that research was undertaken regarding this issue by the ‘Women’s Environmental Network’ and other agencies and groups over a decade ago and that the WECF (Women in Europe for a Common Future) have been relentlessly advocating for non-chemical alternatives worldwide, yet still there is much work to be done.

Conference applauds the previous motions put forward regarding this subject and the work that’s been undertaken as a result of them. This motion is now asking for these existing foundations to be built upon.

Conference calls upon the National Women’s Committee to:

a)Work with the National Executive Committee, MP’s, MEP’s, other women’s groups and Unison branches to raise awareness and campaign vigorously to back proposals for improved regulation, testing and labelling of perfumes, cosmetics and personal care products and everyday domestic cleaning products

b) Investigate the possibility of working with a environmentally sound and safe providers for discounts for Unison members in a similar fashion to those provided for car insurance, discount cards and holidays.

c) To encourage affiliation to local Women’s Environmental Network via regional women’s committee’s to support their continuing good work.

South East Region