There is a news story that L’Oréal have issued a product recall for their Ideal Moisture Dry and Sensitive Day Cream in Canada. The reason is that the level of MI in it is higher than Health Canada’s regulations allow. This is quite a rare event – big cosmetic companies are usually pretty good at following regulations. Unfortunately Google has not revealed the details of just how much over they were. But the product has been on the market for three years so there is a good chance that they have simply failed to keep up with the regulations and that the product was legal when formulated and launched. They have shifted just under 60,000 units.
I picked this story up from a blog that campaigns against MI, which of course they are perfectly entitled to do. But I don’t think that this case provides them with much ammunition. The problem was picked up by L’Oréal themselves, not the authorities and certainly not one of the self appointed consumer advocate groups. There were no reported reactions to the product. This might come as a surprise to people who think that MI is a chemical that provokes a lot of them. The plain fact is that isn’t. The large numbers of reactions that are reported to it are the result of its wide use, not the material itself. This isn’t to minimise the very real suffering of people who do react to it – and any of us could join that group at any time – but it doesn’t do any good to exaggerate its incidence. You can only make good decisions on accurate data.
This doesn’t mean that L’Oréal shouldn’t do everything in their power to prevent the same thing happening again. The problem with this preservative is its overuse. Using more than the rules allow is making a bad situation even worse. Although nobody has reported a reaction to this particular product it isn’t impossible that somebody somewhere might go on to develop a sensitivity to it that they wouldn’t otherwise have done. They should definitely be looking at their procedures and seeing how this mistake came to be made.
(I have a standard disclaimer about Amazon product links, but I think it is particularly clear in this case that I am not swayed by any hope of monetary reward from this review – its just a handy way to get images that you can use without running into copyright problems.)