The decision to include boric acid, the naturally occurring mineral that has long been used by bees and beeswax, is another example of their cautious approach to environmental change, just as their skin-care and face-care products (which includes mineral oil) have been criticized for several decades. Tests by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (the same organization that has been pushing for more evidence-based consumer safety) determined that the beeswax in the original, unlabeled lippie was contaminated with boric acid.
The problem is that there are no labels on the jar. So you had to apply it with your hands, and it was a lippie not exactly a safe option. Then there’s the problem of the beeswax. It was extracted by bees, and at least according to the label, it was unscented. And, I suspect, unscented to an unknowable amount. But the problem is that for as long as I can remember, there have been more than 200 bee stings reported among Americans each year . Those stings are caused by bee stings, so if the lippie contained beeswax, there are some serious legal implications.
The decision of the companies concerned is to go with a biodegradable base, and boric acid (and beeswax, I also assume) won’t be used in the eyeshadow palette. But while these are more responsible decisions, I’m sure many, many other skincare experts would not have supported the move at all. What’s a little bit ironic is that while the bee stings account for the majority of these cases, the number of people who sue for any cosmetics product has been declining over the past fifteen years.
A recent analysis of dermatology statistics in the United States indicates that those suffering serious adverse reactions due to the ingestion of bee products have been on the decline for ten years. It was also one of the studies behind the decision to include boric acid in Revlon’s lipstick shades, as some manufacturers have long resisted even the smallest trace-level of ingredients that could potentially cause allergic reactions. They would make the same statements, yet as you’ll read, they are now fully supporting a biodegradable lip liner made from virgin beeswax a move in line with the fact that all lip products of questionable safety have no longer made it onto the market, but are rather stored and used at home. (I’ll keep an eye on the lip line at least another two years just to make sure I’m not missing anything. ) If you want to make sure you haven’t missed a bee product or other major product with potential health hazards, please see the link to the FDA and L’Oreal decision . The first link points to this new bee-free primer, developed by a team of dermatologists from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with the help of the National Food Allergy Research Institute, which also was announced by L’Oreal on October 30.
If you want to talk chemistry, go to the beekeeper blog at the beekeepersblog . It’s a wonderful discussion of the biology and chemistry of bees (and of our bees), and its general attitude toward the way of life. If you’re going to do a little beekeeping, this is definitely worth a read, as it contains a ton more detail than I could hope to quote. I’ve tried to keep the beekeeping stories to the basics; if there’s a company I can recommend, I’ll note that in the comments but in this case, I couldn’t find anything.