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Israel cosmetics criticized over ingredients sourcing

By Simon Pitman , 04-Sep-2012
Last updated on 04-Sep-2012 at 17:49 GMT

Israel-based cosmetics company Ahava has been accused of ‘pillaging’ the natural resources of the dead sea that lie in the Palestinian territory by a human rights report.

The Palestinian human right organization al-Haq said in its report that the company had not been practicing sustainable or responsible sourcing of the ingredients it uses in its upmarket, natural-based products.

The report states that the company has been involved in the "appropriation and exploitation of Palestinian land and natural resources in the occupied Dead Sea area by Israeli settlers and companies … meet the requirements of the crime of pillage".

Although the company has not commented on the latest allegations, similar accusations two years ago led the company to dispute exactly where in the Dead Sea it sourced the mineral ingredients for its product formulations.

Ahava claims mining does not take place in occupied areas

"The mud and minerals used in Ahava's cosmetic products are not excavated in an occupied area. The minerals are mined in the Israeli part of the Dead Sea, which is undisputed internationally," the statement said.

Around two-thirds of the Dead Sea’s Western shore lies on the Israel occupied West Bank, while the remaining area is in Israel, the Eastern shore of the sea lies in Jordan.

Ahava was established in 1988 and markets its extensive range of products on the basis that the Dead Sea ingredients it uses provide skin-moisturizing properties that can have an ‘age-delaying’ effect on the skin.

Sourcing according to international quality standards

But it also claims that it sources the mineral ingredients according to strict processes that are non-polluting and environmentally conscious, “with a view towards preserving the pristine environment and delicate balance of the natural forces in the Dead Sea region and comply with stringent international quality standards.”

The Dead Sea is renowned for its rich salt and mineral content, making it a mecca for tourists who are attracted by its reputation as being beneficial for a host of skin conditions, including psoriasis and eczema.

Although the sea is more commonly mined for bromine and potash, a number of skin care ingredients company and finished goods makers have developed significant businesses from the mud and the minerals found on the sea bed.

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