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EWG Applauds CVS Move to Ban Airbrushed Photos in Cosmetics Marketing

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For Immediate Release: 
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

WASHINGTON – CVS Pharmacy will work to eliminate airbrushed images of models used to sell cosmetics from its stores, it announced Monday. It is “yet another bold decision” by the company and should be applauded by consumers, said Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook.

“For far too long, the cosmetics industry has told young people through airbrushed advertisements that beauty comes in one shape and size. This new initiative by CVS will go a long way in helping to dispel that myth,” Cook wrote in a letter to CVS Pharmacy President Helena Foulkes.

“This latest step will no doubt reverberate to many of the cosmetics companies that sell and market products in CVS’s nearly 10,000 U.S. stores.”

This year, CVS will start alerting its customers when images used in cosmetics marketing have been digitally altered, Foulkes announced. The company will end its own use of airbrushed photos by the end of 2020.

"The connection between the propagation of unrealistic body images and negative health effects, especially in girls and young women, has been established,” said Foulkes. “As a purpose-led company, we strive to do our best to assure all of the messages we are sending to our customers reflect our purpose of helping people on their path to better health."

Through its Skin Deep® database of personal care products and its verification program, EWG VERIFIED™, EWG has pushed companies to disclose more information about chemical ingredients and fragrance. CVS carries a number of products that have the EWG VERIFIED™ seal, which means they have met EWG’s highest standards for health.

“CVS’s latest move shows that how cosmetics products are advertised and marketed is just as important to the consumer as how the products are made,” Cook wrote.