There is a new David and Goliath war about to begin in the United States. On one side, looms the $50 billion a year cosmetics industry, and on the other side the tiny non-profit consumer protection group The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. The issue is the federal regulation of the cosmetics industry.
Currently, the cosmetics industry operates under self-regulation and personal care products like shampoo, conditioner, aftershave, lotion and makeup are not regulated by the FDA or any other government agency. It is perfectly legal and very common for companies to use ingredients that are known carcinogens, mutagens or reproductive toxins.
While the cosmetics industry argues that the health risks from the chemicals is small, the fact is that we are bombarded with hundreds of these chemicals every day and the slow and silent accumulation has been shown to lead to disease.
• Each day, the average adult uses nine personal care products that contain 126 different chemical ingredients
• The average person absorbs 5 lbs. of make-up chemicals per year
• Over a quarter of a million women and one out of every 100 men use on the average of 15 products a day
• Only 28 of the 7,500 products in the study were completely tested by the industry's self-regulating panel
• An astounding one-third of all the products assessed contained at least one ingredient that fell under the classification of human carcinogen
• 71 percent of the hair dye products evaluated had carcinogenic coal tar as part of their ingredients
• Almost 70 percent of the products reviewed were found to have ingredients that could be tainted with impurities related to cancer and other health complications
• 54 percent of the products violated the safety recommendations proposed by the self-regulating Cosmetic Ingredient Review Board. Some examples of the unsafe ingredients in these products were discovered in diaper cream, products on the market for damaged skin such as chapped skin and other ingredients found in spray products
• Over the course of keeping watch over the cosmetic industry, the FDA has banned a mere nine personal care products
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
• Take out all possible cancer carcinogens and other developmental toxins from products
• Ensure that ingredients are certified and free of impurities with known possible human carcinogens or developmental toxins
• Eliminate any ingredients that qualify as harmful or unsafe
You wouldn’t knowingly rub a bunch of chemicals on your skin, would you? Well, that’s often what happens every day when people slather on lotion, apply makeup or wash their hair. Is using a typical body lotion for a day going to kill you? Well, of course not.
But every product that you put on your body gets absorbed directly into your bloodstream. And over time these chemicals add a significant burden to your body, and that burden can manifest into disease.
So when choosing your personal care products, keep in mind that the ingredients should be safe enough to eat, since that is essentially what you are doing when you apply something onto your skin.
The only way to be sure of what’s in your personal care products is to become familiar with which ingredients to avoid, and then check the labels of every product before you buy it. Here are some of the major ones that you will definitely want to avoid:
• Paraben, a chemical found in underarm deodorants and other cosmetics that has been shown to mimic the action of the female hormone estrogen, which can drive the growth of human breast tumors.
• Phthalates, plasticizing ingredients (present in nearly three-quarters of 72 products tested by the Environmental Working Group), which have been linked to birth defects in the reproductive system of boys and lower sperm-motility in adult men, among other problems.
• Musks, used as fragrances, can accumulate in your body, and have been linked to skin irritation, hormone disruption, and cancer in laboratory studies.
• Artificial fragrances, which are among the top five known allergens, and can cause asthma and trigger asthma attacks.
• Methylisothiazolinone (MIT), a chemical used in shampoo to prevent bacteria from developing, which may have detrimental effects on your nervous system.
• Toluene, made from petroleum or coal tar, and found in most synthetic fragrances. Chronic exposure linked to anemia, lowered blood cell count, liver or kidney damage, and may affect a developing fetus.
• Mineral Oil, Paraffin, and Petrolatum, these products coat your skin like plastic, clogging pores and creating a build-up of toxins. They also slow cellular development, which can cause you to show earlier signs of aging, and are a suspected cause of cancer and disruption to hormonal activity.
To find out how your cosmetics rate, go to:www.cosmeticsdatabase.com