How Dangerous Are Your Cosmetics?

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July 17, 2004 | 44,111 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-interestresearch group known for making connections between chemical exposureand adverse health conditions.

The Washington-based organization has made it easy to calculateyour risk of exposure to potentially harmful substances throughthe personal care products you use.

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

Please don't shrug this issue off.

It is important to recognize that whatever you spread on yourskin has a very real chance of being absorbed into your blood streamand 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 collectivelycontain. The calculator will rate the aggregate health threat thoseingredients may pose to you.

Each product is ranked according to its ingredients' potentialto:

Any harmful impurities in the product are also considered. Containingunstudied ingredients or a "penetration enhancer" thathelps chemicals get absorbed through the skin also enter into theequation, as does any violation of industry safety recommendationssurrounding its use.

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