The Story of Cosmetics

Video Clip Friday

Friday… a good time for a visual break. Sheena Lyengar studies how we make choices – and how we feel about the choices we make. She talks about both trivial choices (Coke v. Pepsi) and profound ones, and shares her groundbreaking research that has uncovered some surprising attitudes about our decisions… some may even apply to corporate governance.

About thirty years ago, two of my best friends, Jerry Hines and Sheldon Dunn, died because of hypersensitivity to chemicals. One had worked in a lab for a drug company where his immune system was destroyed long before the AIDs crisis. The other was a hospital administrator who contracted a rare form of hepatitis with somewhat the same result. I went to work writing legislation to address the issue, but the industry had a more powerful lobby, and the bill was vetoed.

Now, California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control may be on the verge of promulgating regulations that would create a list of toxic chemicals. Products containing those chemicals would be prioritized based on factors such as volume in commerce, the extent of public exposure, and how the product is eventually disposed of. Manufacturers would perform an “alternatives assessment” to determine if viable, safer alternatives are available. Watch “The Story of Cosmetics.” In the meantime, thank you for choosing to be “fragrance-free” for the sake of chemically sensitive colleagues.

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