Ever since Japan announced the release of wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear disaster into the sea, it has raised concerns in all of its neighboring countries. Thousands of people are protesting in China and South Korea. These protests have caused quite a stir in people all around the world who love Japanese cosmetics.
These protests are being held because people think that cosmetic goods from Japan might have radioactive materials in them that can cause skin problems and even skin cancer. Are you also new to this? Well, this article will provide you with all the details regarding this issue and the safety of Japanese Cosmetics.
Table of Contents:
- Part 1: How Did It All Start?
- Part 2: Impact of Nuclear Disaster on the Japanese Cosmetic Industry
- Part 3: Are Japanese Cosmetics Safe?
- Part 4: How to Avoid Beauty Products Containing Radioactive Substances?
- Part 5: Conclusion
How Did It All Start?
On March 11, 2011, an earthquake of 9.0 magnitude hit Japan. It was the largest earthquake that ever hit this densely populated country. Since this earthquake also struck the Oshika Peninsula, it triggered a tsunami with a height of 14 m. This tsunami occurred at the location of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
The earthquake and the tsunami led to the deaths of 20,000 people and thousands of injuries to people. But, this did not end there. These natural disasters also triggered the second biggest nuclear disaster in Japan ever since the 1986 Chornobyl incident.
Meltdown of nuclear Reactors: There were a total of 6 nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Power plant and the three reactors were working at the time of the disaster. When the earthquake came, these reactors were automatically shut off and the heat of nuclear reactors was controlled by cooling systems.
These systems were powered by backup generators but when Tsunami hit the site, those generators were disabled. As a result, the nuclear reactors’ meltdown started. This meltdown released radioactive material into the environment.
Removal of wastewater: After the incident, people in a 30km radius were evacuated, and the decommission and remediation started. This required sufficient space and the only way to get this space was to get rid of wastewater present in temporary storage tanks. Before releasing the water, it was essential to treat this wastewater and Japan did it by using Advanced Liquid Processing Systems (ALPs). In April 2021, TEPCO proposed its plans to release nuclear wastewater into the sea.
What is happening now? After careful research, it has been confirmed that nuclear wastewater is now safe to release into the sea and this will not affect human health in any way. The disposal of wastewater started on August 24, 2024.
However, China claims that this water is not safe to release into the sea and various protests have been started in China, South Korea, and other neighboring countries. China also banned the import of food and various other products including cosmetics from Japan.
Impact of Nuclear Disaster on the Japanese Cosmetic Industry
Among the various concerns being raised after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the Japanese cosmetic industry had a huge negative impact. This is because people have started questioning the water used to produce cosmetic goods. They are doubtful that this water might have any radioactive materials which can cause cancer and other diseases.
Moreover, ever since Japan released the statement of disposing of wastewater into the sea, it has raised concerns regarding marine life. Some cosmetic products use ingredients from the sea such as algae, pearl extracts, and dead sea minerals and if Japan releases the radioactive water into the sea it means those ingredients might be harmful to use.
As a result, Japanese cosmetic products are being boycotted all over the world, especially in China. The Chinese people have compiled a list of famous Japanese brands and raised concerns regarding the safety of these brands. The hashtag used for this issue has attracted more than 300 million views on Weibo.
Are Japanese Cosmetics Safe?
Now comes the real problem. Is China doing the right thing about boycotting Japanese products or is it just a rumor that the famous Japanese brands are not trustworthy anymore?
The Japanese Cosmetic Industry Association (JCIA) has issued a statement that none of the claims regarding the harmful effects of wastewater release is true. It stated that all the cosmetic products manufactured in Japan are still safe to use. In addition, the TEPCO stated that the wastewater that needs to be discharged into the sea has 1500 Bq/L of tritium in it. This is a very small amount to cause any health issues in humans.
Let’s see what the famous Japanese brands have to say regarding this issue:
SK-II: SK-II is one of the most famous Japanese brands. It was most of the most targeted brands after the Japanese Fukushima nuclear disaster. People believed that the water they used might have radioactive cesium. It is because they use water from near Lake Biwa and the wood exposed to harmful radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster was disposed of in the same area. In response to this, P&G released a statement that their products are safe and have passed all the radiation-related tests.
Kao Holding Co.: It is a Chinese subsidiary of Kap Corp, a popular cosmetic company. It has also stated that all the imported products are first tested under the Chinese customs for any radioactive substances and then used.
Shu Uemura: The production plant of Shu Uemura is in Gotemba city which is 300km away from Fukushima. Moreover, their raw materials are first tested and then after making products, they test them too before shipping them to other countries.
How to Avoid Beauty Products Containing Radioactive Substances?
Most Japanese brands have issued statements regarding the safety of their products, but if you are still concerned, you can use the following tips to avoid or at least minimize your exposure to radioactive substances. These tips are not only helpful regarding the Japanese issue but also can be used to avoid any toxic products harmful to your skin.
Before buying any cosmetic products, make sure you read all the ingredients written on the package of your cosmetic product. Some products contain radioactive materials like radium so check all the ingredients to make sure none of them is radioactive.
Reading the ingredients not only helps you avoid radioactive substances but also lets you choose safe products according to your skin type.
Avoid Products with Fragrance
Most brands hide their toxic ingredients and other harmful chemicals under the “fragrance” label. That is why, it is always recommended to use fragrance-free products. These fragrance-free products lower your chances of getting exposed to any radioactive materials.
Additionally, you are safe from any skin-burning chemicals or allergic reactions if you use products with no fragrances in them.
Do not Trust “All-Natural” Products
Believe it or not, no product is all-natural. There are a number of brands that use most of the natural ingredients but no brand can be 100% natural. So, do not trust any label saying “All-natural” Or “Green” and read all the ingredients carefully before choosing one for yourself.
The Food and Drug Administration also does not regulate the world Natural or organic. But, the United States Department of Agriculture regulates “organic” and if any product has this seal, it means their products are 95% organic. So, you can go for these products instead.
Prefer Products with Less Ingredients
The fewer the ingredients are, the safer you are. By limiting the number of ingredients in your cosmetic products, you are limiting the risk of getting yourself exposed to any toxic or radioactive materials. You will be able to know well about what you are putting on your face and save yourself from any allergies, rashes, or other harmful by using products with fewer ingredients.
There are now internet facilities available and unlimited authentic articles with unlimited research are available on the internet. If you are a newbie in the world of cosmetics, you can save yourself by properly researching what you need and where can you get the safest cosmetics regarding your needs.
While going to buy any cosmetic, read the ingredients, research their benefits and side effects, and their long-term effects, and then buy the product, Also, checking the customer reviews can be quite helpful as you can never know better than a person who has experienced using the cosmetics you are buying.
Use Well-Known Products
Well-known brands are usually concerned about their image a lot. That is why, they mostly use safe products that are reliable and trustworthy. Although they are a bit expensive, they have all the ingredients mentioned in detail. They also undergo proper testing before sending their products out there in the market.
On the other hand, you mostly don’t know how the local cosmetics are made, whether they are safe or not, and how long will they last. So, it is better to trust a well-known brand as they are more serious about the safety of their products.
Use Fewer Products
The fewer products you are using, the fewer your chances of getting exposed to any radioactive materials. You can buy products that can act as multifunctional. For example, if you are looking for a whitening cream, you can go for the one that also acts as a moisturizer or a sunscreen.
You can also use a primer to act as a foundation. There are tints that work both as lip and cheek tints.
Other than these, there are no examples of 2-in-1 products, so go for those instead of buying things separately. You don’t always need makeup and other cosmetic products to look pretty. You can also try some other hacks to look attractive.
Also read: How to Look Pretty Without Makeup?
Make Your Own DIY Products
You can try your own DIY products using natural ingredients. For instance, you can use aloe vera as a moisturizer and a sugar scrub to exfoliate your skin. You can make your own turmeric mask for skin whitening or lip mask for making your lips naturally pink.
You can make a number of fruit masks for treating hyperpigmentation and getting rid of your dull skin. All you need is a little bit of research and you can make your own skincare products with no radioactive or harmful chemicals in them.
Also read: How to Make Your Lips Pink Naturally?
Japanese Cosmetics and other goods are banned by China as they might impose a risk of disease in their inhabitants caused by Radioactive materials in those products.
However, The Japanese Cosmetic Industry Association has confirmed that none of the cosmetics are harmful to their users. Moreover. Brands like SK-II, Muji, and Kao Holding Co. have also claimed that their products are safe to use and have undergone radioactive testing.
You can save yourself from all the radioactive materials by minimizing the use of cosmetics, using organic products, avoiding scented products, and doing proper research regarding the product you want to buy. You can also try some DIY tips and tricks for making your skin healthy.