NutriCosmetic Summit keynote speaker Horst Rechelbacher sounded a clarion call to action during his keynote speech at the Renaissance Hotel in Las Vegas on June 10.
Rechelbacher, founder of iconic brand Aveda, gave a well-attended speech that had some in the audience touching troubled hands to lips wondering how much in the way of toxins they had induced into their bodies by using lipstick.
In particular, he cited alarming statistics concerning the prevalence of toxins circulating in the bloodstream of newborn children.
“Kids are born with chemical pollution and this is why cancer among kids has risen 175% since the ’70s,” he said.
He cited a Stanford University study that studied the problem. “After three days old, a correlation was found between blood pesticide levels and neurological disorders among newborns,” he said.
In particular, Rechelbacher sounded the alarm about chemicals from plastics in all its many forms that are leaching into the environment and showing up in people’s bodies and, in some cases, interfering with their reproductive health. As an example, he offered a list, far too long to recount here, of the chemicals commonly found in lipstick. They may all have a function in the product as it resides on the shelf or coats the lips, but none of them have a place when incorporated into living tissue.
And it’s a problem that is likely to get worse.
“There are about 800,000 chemicals in use in the US today. And about 2,000 to 3,000 are introduced every year,” he said.
So what to do? Rechelbacher, who in addition to being a beauty products formulator is also an organic farmer, offered his current company, Intelligent Nutrients, as an example of a way forward. He develops products now that use only food-grade, organic-certified ingredients. In other words, don’t put anything on your lips or face you wouldn’t want in your mouth or your bloodstream. The formulation challenges are formidable, but Rechelbacher’s mission is to prove the industry that it can be done.
“I’m an activist. I sell my products through activism. When you’re an activist, you find other activists. Distributors who are activists, consumers who are activists,” he said.
“We need to change the way we think because thought powers action,” Rechelbacher said. “Competition doesn’t work well. What works is making the best products possible.”
“It’s not about sustainability. It’s about restoration,” he said. “The restoration of relationships that we have with each other and we have with our planet is the new paradigm.”