How Dangerous Are Your Cosmetics?

Previous Article Next Article
July 17, 2004 | 43,637 views

Most personal care and beauty product consumers would be slightly unnerved to find that the government doesn't require any mandatory testing for these products before they hit store shelves. As a matter of fact, a government agency found out that cosmetic manufacturers could use just about any raw materials in their products and then put them on the market without needing approval by the FDA.

The lack of government involvement has led to companies who manufacture these types of products to not adhere to any testing standards and market products that are considered to cause potentially damaging health risks.

A six-month computer investigation evaluated the safety of over 10,000 personal care product ingredients and included 2,300 people. The investigation revealed the following information on personal care use:

Findings From the Personal Care Safety Assessment

Based on these findings, researchers agreed that the lack of monitoring by the FDA has led to a huge leniency toward the testing of cosmetic ingredients and has resulted in a large portion of products available on the market that pose health risks to the consumers.

Recommendations to Cosmetic Manufacturers by the Environmental Working Group

Environmental Working Group June 2004

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a nonprofit public-interest research group known for making connections between chemical exposure and adverse health conditions.

The Washington-based organization has made it easy to calculate your risk of exposure to potentially harmful substances through the personal care products you use.

In its new "Skin Deep" study EWG uses a complex formula to assign a health-risk rating to each of 7,500 personal-care products. The rating system offers a means of quantifying the answer to a controversial question: Just what are we doing to ourselves when we slather stuff on our bodies?

Please don't shrug this issue off.

It is important to recognize that whatever you spread on your skin has a very real chance of being absorbed into your blood stream and causing some serious damage in your body.

Finding your cosmetics risk rating is easy. Just go to the "Skin Deep" report and type in the brand name of your deodorant, toothpaste, soap, shampoo and whatever else you use.

The site will tell you how many ingredients the products collectively contain. The calculator will rate the aggregate health threat those ingredients may pose to you.

Each product is ranked according to its ingredients' potential to:

Any harmful impurities in the product are also considered. Containing unstudied ingredients or a "penetration enhancer" that helps chemicals get absorbed through the skin also enter into the equation, as does any violation of industry safety recommendations surrounding its use.

Related Articles:

Nail Polish and Other Cosmetics May Cause Infertility

Make-Up Holds Hidden Danger of Cancer

Do Environmental Chemicals Harm Humans?

Concern Over Deodorants & Breast Cancer

Do You Still Use An Antiperspirant?

The Truth About Antibacterial Soaps--And Why You Should Avoid Them