|Executive Summary||"E-mail to a friend"|
Most consumers would be surprised to learn that the government does not require health studies or pre-market testing for cosmetics and other personal care products before they are sold. According to the government agency that regulates cosmetics, the FDA's Office of Cosmetics and Colors, "...a cosmetic manufacturer may use almost any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient and market the product without an approval from FDA" (FDA 1999).
The toxicity of product ingredients is scrutinized almost exclusively by a self-policing industry safety committee, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) panel. Because testing is voluntary and controlled by the manufacturers, many ingredients in cosmetics products are not safety tested at all. Environmental Working Group's analysis of industry and government sources shows that:
Eighty-nine (89) percent of 10,500 ingredients used in personal care products have not been evaluated for safety by the CIR, the FDA, nor any other publicly accountable institution (FDA 2000, CIR 2003).
The absence of government oversight for this $35 billion industry leads to companies routinely marketing products with ingredients that are poorly studied, not studied at all, or worse, known to pose potentially serious health risks.
The Environmental Working Group's (EWG's) six-month computer investigation into the health and safety assessments on more than 10,000 personal care product ingredients found major gaps in the regulatory safety net for these products. To help people use what we learned we developed an online rating system that ranks products on their potential health risks and the absence of basic safety evaluations. The core of the analysis compares ingredients in 7,500 personal care products against government, industry, and academic lists of known and suspected chemical health hazards.
Our analysis shows that ingredients in make up and cosmetics range from essentially harmless components like table salt and oatmeal, to chemicals known to cause cancer in humans. Notably, natural ingredients are no more likely to have been assessed for safety than synthetic chemicals. Individual ingredients vary tremendously in their ability to soak through the skin. Some absorb in only miniscule amounts, while others can quite easily penetrate the skin to the blood vessels below. Few individual ingredients pose excessive risks, but most people use many products in the course of a day, so it well may be that these risks are adding up.
A survey of 2,300 people conducted as part of this research effort shows that the average adult uses 9 personal care products each day, with 126 unique chemical ingredients. More than a quarter of all women and one of every 100 men use at least 15 products daily.
Little research is available to document the safety or health risks of low-dose repeated exposures to chemical mixtures like those in personal care products, but the absence of data should never be mistaken for proof of safety. The more we study low dose exposures, the more we understand that they can cause adverse effects ranging from the subtle and reversible, to effects that are more serious and permanent.
Overall, our investigation of product safety shows cause for concern, not alarm. Much more study is needed to understand the contribution of exposures from personal care products to current human health trends.
Our safety assessment of 7,500 personal care product labels, documented in this web-based review, shows that:
One of every 120 products on the market contains ingredients certified by government authorities as known or probable human carcinogens, including shampoos, lotions, make-up foundations, and lip balms manufactured by Almay, Neutrogena, Grecian Formula, and others.
Table 1. Many leading cosmetics companies may have failed to formulate their products with customer health as a top concern. According to an EWG Safety Assessment Rating for personal care products, the products with the highest health concerns in 25 different product categories contain ingredients linked to cancer, pregnancy problems, and other potential health issues (scores range from 0 to 10, with 10 being of highest health concern):
Click Here for the list
Because the FDA has no legal authority to require safety assessments of cosmetics, products safety is by default the responsibility of the industry and its own appointed Cosmetic Ingredient Review panel. This voluntary policing arrangement has been a failure. EWG's analysis of 7,500 personal care product labels found that some cosmetic companies use known human carcinogens in products, manufacture scores of products containing ingredients in direct contraindication of industry hazard assessments, widely use chemicals that are likely to be contaminated with harmful impurities, and add to thousands of products ingredients that industry assessments show lack basic information needed to support their safety.
EWG is a not-for-profit group that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment by researching pollution in food, water, air, and people
No wonder there is such a worrying increase in the rate that cancer is striking people down at - the chemical assault on our species continues to escalate. While-ever big business is making big money from the 35 billion USA cosmetic and makeup market in the USA then we will be told less than half the truth if we are lucky.
It is only through the work of dedicated organizations like the Environmental Working Group that we are at last starting to see some voices being heard. You can read the complete Executive Summary here.
You can make a statement too! Simply don't buy the crap they tell you is going to make you beautiful. All this synthetic chemical garbage is designed to do is to make the manufactures, the CEOs and the shareholders wealthy. This is an exceptionally powerful industry! It is only when the bottom line is hit, their profits, that we will see change in attitude to the toxic alphabet soup of chemicals gullible people are having foisted on them.
If you care about your loved ones would you knowingly allow them to put toxic chemicals on their skin and in their mouths? It is up to us as individuals to make others aware of this insidious problem permeating through every sector of society in the modern world....
USDA Certified Organic is the only way you can be sure health products, skin care and cosmetics and makeup are free of toxic man made chemicals
These toxic chemical products may contaminate your children!