Clear and concise article by The Walrus on the potential dangers of cosmetic products contains a bit dramatic of a title
Rick Smith examines how the presence of toxic chemicals in health and beauty products may have adverse effects on human health. Smith reports on specific cases of beauty and health links, such as that of the Brazilian Blowout product, as well as different research conducted by experts in cosmetic product and health relations.
The recent increase in the popularity of organic and ‘clean’ beauty has been a product of research findings such as that of Philippa Darbre, one of the many scientists researching the effects of chemicals in beauty products on human health. Smith reports that Darbre found parabens in human breast tissues and has been researching a possible relation between paraben-containing underarm products and breast cancer. Smith also reports on the work of Shanna Swan, a scientist who found that people subjected to more beauty products had higher levels of phthalate break-down products in their urine. Both phthalates and parabens are chemicals with adverse effects on human health due to their hormone-disrupting and hormone-mimicking capabilities.
Smith’s article is clear and concise; however, the explanation of the various experiment findings is oversimplified. Rather than simply stating that the chemicals produce “effects”, Smith should have aimed for a more in-depth explanation of the scientific findings of the experiments, helping to reinforce the authority of the findings in the mind of the reader.
Overall, Smith’s article is a well-written report with a needlessly alarming title. Smith the uses fearmongering and sensationalist language where the content itself could have sufficed to grab the reader’s attention. The only provided citation is Smith’s co-authored book, Slow Death by Rubber Duck, from which the story was adapted. The page lacks Smith’s contact information however, his position as executive director of the Broadbent Institute is provided.
Author Rick Smith discusses the problem of harmful chemicals in everyday products with great depth. The title of the article sets a fearful tone for the article as it is short and direct; however, it cannot be said that it is misleading as the piece opens with a frightening account about the usage of a hair product that resulted in horrifying side effects. Smith neither overstates or understates the information from the chosen scientific literature, but not all of his information is sourced solely from the research articles. He informs the reader not only about the chemicals but how they affect specific parts of the body as well. Although not all directly cited, Smith thoroughly explains the scientific basis of the chemicals’ side effects to an audience that does not necessarily have a scientific background.
The structure of the article is unclear as the topics are written in a similar style, nuance which muddies the separation between the issues discussed. In fact, some of the information given could be considered superfluous as there are a few areas in which the focus of the article is taken on a somewhat unrelated tangent; however, the unrelatedness is subjective to each individual reader. Overall the presentation is simple, bolded words indicate the chemicals of interest, a singular large letter indicates a change of topic, and there are no pictures and few advertisements to distract the reader.
Ultimately, Smith thoroughly informs the audience of the dangers within their everyday cosmetics. His choice of language allows for an easy read in which information is absorbed quickly. Smith’s article captures the attention of a large range of readers as the examples used, such as baby shampoo, nail polish, hair products, are vague and invoke many. It can be said that the article creates a more aware audience about the dangers of cosmetics, and although slightly nuanced, shares the truly important health-related factors that affects the readers.
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