Therese Kerr wants Aussies to understand the damage we’re inflicting on ourselves by unknowingly slathering our skin in harmful chemicals each day.
She’s the unstoppable force behind the Divine Company, a wholly certified organic Australian beauty care company intent on offering natural alternatives to the toxin-laden products clogging our supermarket shelves.
We first met Therese last year and were blown away by her passion and dedication to exposing the truth behind the personal care industry. Therese is enraged by the hundreds of chemicals snuck into our everyday products and the mounting scientific evidence of the catastrophic effect they’re having on our health and environment.
“Chemicals are used in our everyday products – including skin, hair, beauty, personal, baby and just about every product in our home – on the basis that they are safe until proven otherwise, which is stupid!” she told us. "Most people assume as I used to, that the everyday products on the shelves are safe, unfortunately they are far from safe."
“We take for granted that products have been safety tested but sadly the majority have not been tested at all.”
Why products containing “fragrance” should be avoided at all costs
Therese began investigating the use of chemicals in everyday products back in 2002, after she was forced to have her tumour-ridden spleen surgically removed.
She was horrified by what she discovered.
The word “fragrance”, which is found in almost all products would horrify people to discover that it's what is known as a “cluster” ingredient. This means that companies are allowed to list fragrance as one ingredient on the label yet there can literally be hundreds of undisclosed chemicals that sit under that one word. The secret formula of that fragrance falls under the banner of “proprietary interest” or "intellectual property". A clasic example of putting profit before people’s health. All fragrance tested by the EWG (environmental working group) was found to contain phthalates - potent endocrine disruptors.
The different classes of chemicals include:
- Carcinogens (cancer causing)
- Endocrine disruptors (xeno estrogens)
- Obesogens (chemicals that cause our fat cells to multiply, re-program our normal cells to become fat cells)
- Teratogens (cause embryo and birth defects)
- Developmental toxins
- Reproductive toxins
- Neuro toxins
- Immuno toxins
Most of the chemicals in our everyday products are a combination of these chemicals. For example, fragrance is considered a neuro toxin, endocrine disruptors and toxic to the immune system.
Endocrine disrupting chemicals known as phthalates mimic our body’s hormones, wreaking havoc on our delicate endocrine system. “The level of endocrine-related disorders is rising fast. It’s estimated that around 70 per cent of women now have some form of hormone disorder in this country,” Therese says.
“One in seven women are infertile. Male sperm quality has dropped by 40 per cent. Babies are being born with an average 200 chemicals in their little bodies now.”
How chemicals in our products become chemicals in our bodies
Therese says many people don’t understand that using non-natural products on our skin and in our home invites these chemicals into our bodies.
“Sadly, people don’t realise that an average 60 to 65 per cent of what we put on our skin gets absorbed into our bloodstream and into our organs,” she says.
That’s why Therese believes we should always, always choose organic. She has a simple reply to people who baulk at the price: “There’s a cost to putting chemicals on your body. Either you pay now or you pay later with your health. It really is that simple.”
“Our goal as a company is to transform health within one generation. It is only through education that we can make informed choices and without providing products that actually work as effectively as the conventional ones, education is lost. That is why we do what we do.”
Power to you, woman.