TORONTO – A new report released last week finds the largest cosmetics companies in Canada still need to give their products and policies a makeover when it comes to toxic chemicals. The report Taking Stock: How the Cosmetics Industry Ranks on Toxic Chemicals ranks the Big 5 cosmetics companies on their progress to eliminate harmful chemicals from their products. It shows that while some are taking meaningful action, others still lag behind.

“The good news is that some companies are listening to the growing concerns from their customers about the risks of these chemicals,” said Maggie MacDonald, toxics program manager with Environmental Defence. “Others need to take the old saying to heart – the customer is always right – and act to remove harmful chemicals.”

For the report, Environmental Defence assessed whether the five largest cosmetic companies in Canada have targets for eliminating harmful ingredients, how they are addressing concerns about chemicals in their products, and ingredient disclosure on their product labels. In particular, the report looked at endocrine-disrupting chemicals in cosmetics, which may have links to endocrine-related cancers such as breast and testicular cancer.

Based on the research, the companies were given the following ranking from best to worst:

  1. Procter & Gamble
  2. Johnson & Johnson
  3. Unilever
  4. Estée Lauder
  5. L’Oréal


Procter & Gamble was recognized for being at the top of the industry for their published policies to eliminate triclosan, phthalates, parabens and 1,4-dioxane, chemicals with possible links to serious health problems including cancer, as well as providing public information on their website. In comparison, Estée Lauder and L’Oréal rounded out the bottom of the list due to their lack of any published policies to phase out harmful ingredients on their website.

“What is the most concerning is that these companies represent the lion’s share of the cosmetics and personal care products found on the shelves of stores in Canada,” said MacDonald. “Consumers are demanding safer products. They have the right to know the products they buy are safe, to protect their health and their family’s health.”

Environmental Defence, is the organization that successfully advocated the banning of BPA in baby bottles and phthalates in toys, and now they have their sights set on the Big 5 cosmetics companies to eliminate the Toxic Ten ingredients (; disclose all fragrance ingredients on product labelling; enact and publicize company policies on chemicals in cosmetics, and set targets to eliminate substances of concern; and increase transparency about their ingredients and their toxics policies.

The Environmental Defence report Taking Stock: How the Cosmetics Industry Ranks on Toxic Chemicals can be downloaded at

SOURCE Environmental Defence

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